Ian M. Cook

OLIve Director of Studies, 2019-2023

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  

Yuliia Verkhovska

is the Ukrainian Hub Coordinator


Phone: + 36.70.564.2513 

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 training English teachers at a university. 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. She enjoys meeting people from diverse cultural backgrounds 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 has been instructing digital literacy at Olive-WP since February 2020.

He believes that having digital skills has nothing to do with education level and that anyone can learn and use technology effectively. It’s a mission to provide students with the tools they need to be productive in their careers and personal lives, regardless of their background. It is essential in this century for everyone to be able to use technology in their daily lives.

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

Ezter Szabó (b. 1979) is based in Budapest. She studied painting at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts where she graduated in 2006. She completed her postgraduate studies at Le Fresnoy École Internationale des Arts Contemporains in 2016. Her works are drawings, paintings and short, non-narrative, conceptual video loops, complemented with her recent interest in video installations and video sculptures. The videos are elaborated versions of her paintings, animated in 2D or in 3D or often with mixed techniques.She creates portraits of fictional but very familiar characters that she observes and ’collects’ in public spaces. When looking at people, instead of perceiving the extraordinary, her focus is directed on the ordinary, exposing otherwise unnoticed details and revealing invisible elements. Her protagonists are mostly Eastern European or Central European women, characterised by vulnerability, combatting aging, emotions and anger, fatigue of their everyday existence and many times, motherhood. Thus, these figures are a product of their geographical, political, historical and social context but the grotesque characters also possess a certain kind of humour that the artist depicts with a large amount of empathy and compassion.
Eszter Szabó showed her work at numerous solo shows and took part in various group exhibitions in Hungary, Paris, New York, Brussels among others. In 2021 she was the winner of the prestigious Leopold Bloom Art Award. More info:

Kinga Szemessy

teaches space and movement

Kinga Szemessy was trained as a contemporary dancer (Budapest Contemporary Dance Academy, and dance anthropologist (Chore mundus International MA in Dance Knowledge, Practice and Heritage,, and currently is a PhD candidate at the Arts & Science Interuniversity Doctoral Program at MOZ and PLUS Salzburg, Austria. Formerly she was working in various contexts, e.g. as a research and teaching assistant at UniArts Helsinki, and at the Otago University (Dunedin New-Zealand), but also engaged in community dance initiatives with the Colombian NGO Embodying Reconciliation ( As well she gained a lot while being an ArtsLink guest artist at the Ohio State University, and a DanceWeb scholarship holder (ImpulsTanz, Vienna). She is a member of the FreeSZFE Society, SZOME (Association for Somatic Movement and Education), Ziggurat Project (, L1 (, and a founder of SVUNG for participatory arts and art mediation ( As she is also a nature guide, occasional rock climber, furthermore eco-somatic investigator, in the frame of her doctoral studies, she has been looking at and research-creating spaces that challenge the anthropocentric approach towards participatory dance performance dramaturgy.

Ameni Mehrez

teaches Politics in the Middle East and North Africa

Ameni Mehrez is a Ph.D. candidate in comparative politics at the Doctoral School of Political Science, Public Policy, and International Relations at Central European University. (CEU) She is a Junior Fellow at the Association for Analytic Learning about Islam and Muslim Societies (AALIMS). She is running large-scale studies in Tunisia for her research in comparative politics. She is also the chair of the Middle East and North Africa Space (MENAS) at CEU, and she was the Principal Investigator of a post-election survey fielded in Tunisia, which will contribute to the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES).

Olsi Dudumi

teaches Digital Fabrication Technology – FabLab Africa

Olsi Dudumi is the Regional Innovation and Youth Empowerment officer at Terre des hommes Hungary. As part of the Children and Youth in Migration Programme he is currently managing the Fablab Gyor project, providing access to the newest technologies, opportunity to engage in the processes of innovation and creative thinking for children and youth from disadvantaged communities. Previously at Tdh, Olsi was managing the Living Together Initiative, co-lead with youth and aiming at empowering youth to change narrative on Migration in European Union.Before coming to Hungary, Olsi has worked as Youth Worker and Project worker in North Macedonia, Finland and Malta. At Olive Weekend Programme together with his colleague they held Fablab workshops which introduced Youth to digital technology while empowering them to use this technology for the development of their community. Olsi is part of the Resilience Collective (

Eszter Simongáti

teaches Tutoring and Counseling

Eszter provides small group and individual tutoring for school students and university applicants participating in the OLIve program since 2021. She studied Literature, Linguistics and History at ELTE University. Her career covers several areas, e.g. museum, art, cultural management as well as education. (Museum of Fine Arts, Ludwig Museum, Hungarian Institute for Educational Research and Development, Balassi Institute) She also provides counseling and decision making related to students’ postsecondary education plans. Through consultations they identify students’ readiness and potential gaps in college access. She helps students plan a successful transition from high-school to further education.

Dalma Magasi

teaches Community Theatre

Dalma Magasi studied theatre in education, drama pedagogy and art mediation at the University of Theatre and Film Arts (2017-2020). Before that she was part of some experimental theatre groups and studied acting at an acting studio (2012-2015). Currently she is one of the organizers of PLACCC Festival.

Áron Szentpéteri

teaches Stories of the city

Áron Szentpéteri was born in 1987. Having completed a degree in cognitive science, he studied film directing at the University of Theatre and Film Arts Budapest (SZFE) between 2015 -2017, in the MA class of Ildikó Enyedi. His short films were shown at many film festivals around the world including Cannes, Sarayevo, Uppsala or the Angers Premiers Plans festival. From 2017 till 2020 he was an assistant teacher to the director’s class at the University of Theatre and Film Arts Budapest (SZFE), and now is a member of the FreeSzfe Association. He is currently working on writing his debut fiction feature project.


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 Finance Assistant at UNICEF. His academic interest lies in financial risk management. He has been Mentoring OLIve students since September 2020 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.

Madeleine Moussambe Moukete

Madeleine, a former OLIve student, joined this semester as a Mentor of the current students, offering advice, support, and other forms of assistance. She has an MA in Business law and Human Resources Management. Currently, she works as a Human resources specialist at Eaton Corporation. She is passionate about helping other people achieve success and figuring out what fulfills them. 

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.