LSE IDEAS is pleased to host the Mladena and Dianko Sotirov Visiting Fellowship thanks to the generous endowment by Mrs Mladena Sotirov. Sotirov fellows study Bulgaria and the Balkan region, working to to understand its recent history, international affairs, the challenges it faces today and the prospects of tomorrow.
2023/24 Sotirov Fellow
Dr Ivan Lidarev is a foreign policy analyst and expert on Asian security and the international relations of China and India. In 2021 he obtained his PhD in International Relations and Political Science from King’s College London with a dissertation on the China-India territorial dispute. Ivan served as advisor at Bulgaria’s National Assembly (2014-2017), Graduate Teaching Assistant at the Joint Services Command and Staff College, the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom (2018-2019), and Associate Features Editor of E-International Relations (2015-2016). He has participated in various leadership and training programmes, including as Young Leader (2016, 2017) at the GLOBSEC Forum, MERICS Young European China Talent (2018) at Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS), and New Security Leader (2021) at the Warsaw Security Forum.
Ivan received his MA in International Affairs, with a concentration in Asia, from Elliott School of International Affairs (ESIA), George Washington University, and BA in History, Asian Studies, and Global and International Studies from Bard College. He also studied at Shanghai’s Fudan University.
He boasts rich thinktank experience, having served as Visiting Fellow at the Institute of International Relations Prague (IIR) in 2022 and at New Delhi’s Observer Research Foundation (ORF) in 2017, among other institutions.
2022/23 Sotirov Fellow
Dr Aleksandra Peeva is a research fellow at the Humboldt University of Berlin and a consultant with the World Bank.
Ms. Peeva previously earned a PhD in economics from the German Institute for Economic Research and Humboldt University, learnt to teach students as a lecturer at the Free University Berlin, examined the fiscal aspects of economic stimulus measures at home and abroad while interning with the German Federal Ministry of Finance and the German Agency for International Cooperation and convinced herself of the need for society’s support of culture as an intern with the Film Society of Lincoln Center. She also profited from the diversity of opinions and backgrounds at the Berlin Social Science Center and the International Monetary Fund while on visiting research fellowships there.
2021/22 Sotirov Fellow
Dr Leon Hartwell is the 2022 Mladena and Dianko Sotirov Visiting Fellow at LSE IDEAS and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow with the Democratic Resilience and Transatlantic Leadership programs at the Center of European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Washington D.C. His research interests include conflict resolution, genocide, transitional justice, diplomacy, democracy, and the Western Balkans. Hartwell will undertake research into domestic and foreign policy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the potential policy options available to the US, UK and EU in bringing about an end to the country’s ‘post-war paralysis’. He is on Twitter @LeonHartwell.
2020/21 Sotirov Fellow
Vuk Vuksanović is a political scientist from Serbia who specialises in international affairs, with Master degrees from the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Belgrade and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
Vuksanović brings a wealth of experience and expertise to LSE IDEAS from academia, the private sector and government. He worked for two years at the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Sector for Security Policy, Belgrade, and as an analyst and consultant for several policy think tanks providing political and geopolitical risk assessments pertaining to the regional markets of the Balkans, the Middle East and the post-Soviet space.
Vuk is currently completing his PhD research at LSE in international relations. His PhD deals with the Serbian balancing act between Russia and the West between 2008 and 2020, and he will use this Fellowship to focus on the growing Sino-Serbian partnership.
2019 Sotirov Fellow
Bogdan Zawadewicz is a PhD candidate in Political Science at Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich (LMU), Germany. In his doctoral work he investigates the role of symbolic political cleavages in shaping separatists' strategies in Bosnia & Hercegovina and Ukraine. He has worked as a research associate at Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies (IOS) in Regensburg, Germany where he was a member of the research group "Frozen and Unfrozen Conflicts". He holds a Master's Degree in Political Science (University of Warsaw, Institute of Political Science). His research interests include the Balkans, Post-Soviet Space, separatism, conflict studies, field theory (Pierre Bourdieu), world-systems analysis.
2018 Sotirov Fellow
Asya Metodieva is a PhD Candidate at Central European University (CEU), Budapest. Her research is on foreign fighter mobilization in post-violent societies with a focus on the Western Balkans. Her dissertation investigates the construction of martial social identity within different fighter mobilization streams from the region contributing to two ongoing conflicts: Syria and Eastern Ukraine. Asya has been a teaching assistant for the Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism and Public Management classes at School of Public Policy, CEU. She holds MA in International Public Policy from CEU and MA in International Relations and Security Studies from Sofia University 'St. Kliment Ohridski'. Previously, Asya worked as a journalist for the Bulgarian National Television (BNT).
2017 Sotirov Fellow
Roumiana Preshlenova is Associate Professor at the Institute of Balkan Studies and Centre of Thracology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in Sofia. She is also lecturer in Southeast European Studies, Faculty of History of Sofia University 'St. Kliment Ohridski'.