Marina Pesenti, Director
Originally from Kyiv, Ukraine, Marina Pesenti spent 10 years with the BBC World Service in London, producing and presenting programmes. She was a winner of BBC WS Documentary Bursary Award and produced documentaries for the English and Ukrainian desks. Marina gives regular interviews to the UK and Ukrainian media and has conducted research for think tanks, such as Legatum Institute in London and Kennan Institute in Kyiv. Her writing featured in OpenDemocracy and Ukrainian Novoye Vremya. Prior to joining the Institute in September 2015, Marina was Director of Ukrainian Investment Summit in London with Adam Smith Conferences and freelanced for Bell Pottinger, a UK-based PR consultancy. She is a graduate of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and has received her MSc from the London School of Economics.
Maria Montague, Assistant Director
Maria Montague is a theatre director and cultural manager with a keen interest in Ukraine. She studied Ukrainian literature as part of her BA in languages at the University of Cambridge, and went on to do an MPhil at Cambridge, researching the Ukrainian theatre director Les Kurbas. Maria has worked on various theatre projects, including the English-language premiere of Maklena Grasa by Mykola Kulish, which had a UK tour in 2018, funded by Arts Council England. Maria was the translator and director of this production, which she staged with the theatre company she co-founded, Night Train. Maria also has project management experience in international relations, and has worked with the Chatham House Ukraine Forum. She is currently working with the Arena programme at the London School of Economics, which is dedicated to analysing and overcoming the latest trends in disinformation and 21st century propaganda.
Lesia Scholey, Creative Director, Communications and Program Development
Before turning to creative projects and volunteering, Lesia worked for nearly a decade as a journalist in Washington DC, Kyiv, London and New York. Originally from Philadelphia, Lesia has also lived in Paris, Minsk and Istanbul. Lesia began her career at the National Endowment for Democracy on the day the Soviet Union fell apart, soon became a reporter, and decamped to Kyiv to cover the first post-Soviet parliamentary elections. In Ukraine Lesia freelanced for various newspapers, radio and television, and worked for the IFC-World Bank on small scale privatisations in Belarus. As a financial journalist Lesia later specialised in energy issues and markets and worked for the Financial Times. Her creative writing includes the novel Forty One published in 2015. Lesia received her BA in Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia and her MSc in Politics of the World Economy from the London School of Economics.
Anna Morgan, Marketing Manager
Anna has a Master’s degree in Law from Kyiv’s National Taras Shevchenko University. Before moving to London in 2014, Anna worked for a number of international organisations in Kyiv. While in London, Anna helped developing a number of art projects with Dash Arts, involved into activities of the BEARR Trust, a UK charity providing support to NGOs in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and South Caucasus and the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), in particular its special Ukraine-focused project, the Ukraine Forum. She is also managing the Ukrainian community project – Ukrainian Events in London which aims to popularise Ukrainian culture in the UK.