Ian M. Cook

Directs the OLIve Weekend Program at Open Education

Phone: + 36.1.327.2857

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

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. 

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.


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.

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

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.

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.

Virág Lődi

teaches Introduction to Social and Visual Studies

Virág Lődi is an educator, media artist and curator. Currently she is doctoral candidate at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts. Her research interests include: critical and revolutionary pedagogy, arts-based method in education, visual pedagogy of Kádár regime. She teaches visual culture and art theory at Budai Rajziskola (Art School of Buda), and she is president of the Studio of Young Artists’ Association (SYAA).

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.

Tamara Kolarić

teaches Politics

Tamara holds a PhD in Political Science from Central European University. Her academic interests include the various intersections between memory studies, political science and popular culture (primarily cinema), as well as qualitative research methods and design. Previously she has taught at Bard College Berlin (2019/2020), as well as at CEU as a TA, and she particularly enjoys teaching small, diverse student groups. In her past life she was a film critic.

Márta Vetier

teaches Introduction to Sustainable Development

Marta holds a PhD in environmental sciences and policy from CEU, her research focuses on how the social network of actors influences the effectiveness of international environmental agreements. Beyond academia, Marta has a diverse working portfolio including the NGO and public sector with two strong threads connecting all of her experiences: her strong personal commitment to protect the environment and the successful change-making international teams and projects. Currently she is programme director of Greenpeace Hungary. Marta is very excited to contribute with her knowledge and experiences to OLIve students’ learning path. She is also looking forward to discussing current environmental challenges our societies are facing with her students, uncovering different perspectives and viewpoints, and learning about environmental issues in different parts of the world.

Agnes 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.

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.

Mariia (Masha) Semashyna

teaches Critical Creative Thinking

Masha is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Gender Studies at Central European University. She graduated from a BA program in philology at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in Ukraine, and has experience in copy editing and translation, working with Ukrainian, Russian, and English. Masha earned her MA degree in Gender Studies at CEU. Her PhD dissertation is focused on gender and embodiment in the Russian avant-garde literature and philosophy of the 1930s. Her academic interests include Soviet and Russian studies, affect studies, human and the non-human, women’s literature and canon formation, biopolitics, and queer theory. She currently also teaches courses in academic writing and arts and humanities at Milestone Institute in Budapest.

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.

Márton Szarvas

teaches Culture as a Common Good

Márton Szarvas is a Ph.D. candidate of the Sociology and Social Anthropology Department of Central European University, Budapest. His dissertation titled “Peace-Time for “Soldiers of Culture”: “Civic cultivation” in Hungary’s Houses of Culture since 1990” interrogates the changing relationship between state and culture in contemporary Hungary. He is the member of Working Group for Public Sociology “Helyzet” which aims to produce and disseminate alternative social knowledge for the sake of social change and a founding member of the Solidarity Economy Center, Budapest, which facilitates the establishment of institutions based on the principles of cooperativism and economic democracy in the fields of housing, care-work, energy, agriculture, and cultural production.

Perica Jovchevski

teaches Human Rights and Social Justice

Perica Jovchevski is a PhD candidate at the Central European University, working in the fields of political, moral and social philosophy. His doctoral research is focused on the value and distribution of personal autonomy from a political perspective. Since 2015, he has been working on the Yugoslavia Archive Project within the Human Rights Program at Blinken OSA, dealing with re-archiving and researching of archival records on the former Yugoslav region. He is teaching within OLIve the “Human Rights and Social Justice” course, engaging the students with the normative justification and the advocacy of human rights.

Márton Rövid

teaches Introduction to Social and Visual Studies

Márton Rövid is an activist-scholar, a dedicated teacher, and an experienced policy analyst. He holds PhD of political science from Central European University (CEU). Currently he is a visiting professor at the Romani Studies Program at CEU, and a teacher at the Jesuit Roma College in Hungary. His research interests include: theories of cosmopolitan democracy, global civil society, transnational social movements, racialization in post-communist contexts.

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.

Logan Strenchock

teaches Academic Skills

Logan Strenchock is the Environmental and Sustainability Officer at CEU, a garden team member at Zsámboki Biokert, a co-founder of Cargonomia, a community cargobike center and local food distribution point in Budapest. He is the instructor in the Academic Skills course in Olive and has been volunteering in the program since it was launched. He enjoys getting his hands dirty in mixing research and practice in degrowth-inspired experimentation with a diverse team of collaborators living in Hungary.

Cecília Kovai

teaches individual possibilities and social traps

Cecília is cultural anthropologist and research fellow at the Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Budapest. Her main research focuses on poverty and ethnicity, social and spatial inequalities, and socio-economic transformation, with particular interest in Roma issue. She has conducted numerous fieldwork in poor Roma communities in rural Hungary, studying the connection between ethnicity and class position, local ethnic and class relationship, the organization of Roma communities. Since 2017 she has been working as a postdoctoral scholar. Her new research focus on development activities which target the poor Roma communites.

Dumitrița Holdiș

teaches online radio and podcast

Dumitrița works for CEU Democracy Institute’s Center for Media, Data and Society’s (CMDS)  as a Project Officer for the Journalism Breakthroughs and Media Influence Matrix projects. Previously she has been working for the Center for Independent Journalism in Bucharest, Romania where she managed projects on media freedoms, journalism and hate speech. She conducted research in funding, disinformation  and media representation in the past. She is also a podcast enthusiast. She created podcasts for the Central European University, the New Books Network and Radio Civic Sfântu Gheorghe, a community radio based in the Danube Delta in Romania. Together with Ian M. Cook she initiated a podcasting program at CEU, which resulted in building the first podcasting studio at the university, a Podcast Library and podcasting and sound studies courses introduced for students, staff and faculty. She holds an MA degree from CEU’s Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology.

András Simongáti-Farquhar

teaches online radio and podcast

András is a sound and media artist. Originally educated as a Social Scientist and trained as a traditional composer (Western Classical 18th-mid 20th century), after which he studied at the Institute of Sonology, Simongáti-Farquhar has been investigating the intersections and interaction between the seemingly remote fields of Political and Social Science and different forms of sound art. His work has been focused mostly on working with field recordings, analog modular synthesizers and most recently programming for musical purposes. Apart from sound related work he’s also been a mentor at Snétberger Music Talent Center, a high-school teacher working with multiply disadvantaged young adults, as well as guest lecturer of sound-physics at University of Pécs.

Noemi Bulecza

teaches urban photography

Noemi graduated with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the Lviv National Music Academy in Lviv, Ukraine as a concert cellist and teacher. She spent a decade performing as a cellist in numerous symphony orchestras, such as the Zugló Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hungarian National Opera, the Danubia Orchestra and the Alba Regia Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, she completed a two-year photography program in Budapest and has worked as a photographer for a commercial photography studio. She has also worked as a freelance photographer in both interior and event photography, including as a coordinator and photographer at the Valley of the Arts Festival in Kapolcs, Hungary, and other events.     


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.

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.



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.