They support our Institute’s actions and policies. They advise us and publish as well their work through our platform. They take part in our programs and can take part at our International Annual Conference but also private seminars and training missions.

They Are:

  • Marios Efthymiopoulos

    Chairman of the Board of Advisors

    Dr. Marios Panagiotis Efthymiopoulos

    Dr. Marios Panagiotis Efthymiopoulos is the Chairman of the Board of Advisors of Strategy International.

    He holds a complete portfolio with many years of a vast professional and academic experience. The decision to create Strategy International derives from his experience and the need to tailor client direct relations with key solving experts.

    He has been assisting and associated with direct or indirect market and government related works, through which achieved to consult, train, organize, innovate and apply. Regional experience includes among others co-operations in consulting in the USA, European Union, Cyprus and Greece and the Gulf Region, namely the UAE.

    Since January 2017 he is a Visiting Senior Fellow at University of Central Lancashire Cyprus Branch (UCLan Cyprus) renewed in September 2018. Between July 2018-August 2018 he was Dean of Academic Affairs at Jumeira University Dubai.

    He holds a PhD from the University of Crete, in Security and Strategic Affairs on NATO issues and NATO-Russia relations. A graduate of the NATO Defense College, Rome (SC-105, 2005), holds an MA from the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. Having attended the MSC in Russian and Post-Soviet Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science, he holds a BA(Hons) in International Relations and Politics from the University of Lincolnshire and Humberside.

    He is currently consulting and authoring on Alliances and International Organizations, Mega & Smart Cities Security and Strategy, Cyber Security and Tactics of Sustainable Growth and Development among others.

    Past academic positions, among others, include, Associate Professor of International Security and Strategy and former founding Dean of the College of Security and Global Studies, at the American University in the Emirates, in the United Arab Emirates located in Dubai, Columbia University’s Harriman Institute, the Center for Transatlantic Relations, Johns Hopkins University SAIS, George Washington European Center for Excellence & the Business School, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the University of Cyprus. He is a strategic advisor, attached to the President of the Republic of Cyprus since 2014.

    Publications include books, edited books, chapter, peer reviewed journals and published papers.

    Recent published and or upcoming publications include:

    1. “Falcon’s Maze on Cyber-Security: The Case of the United Arab Emirates (UAE)” -To be Published January 2021- by Springer.

    2. Co Editor of “The Handbook Cyber-Democracy, Cyber-Development & Cyber-Defense” published by Springer October 2018. (48 chapters from which) 2 further chapters are of personal contribution.

    3. Published a Co-Edited Volume on “Cyber-Democracy, Development and Defense” by Springer (2014-2015).

    He is Listed in the “Marquis Who is Who” Encyclopedia of Leading Personalities in the World, based in Vienna.

    for more information you can also read in his private site:

    Dr. Efthymiopoulos’ Linkedin link


  • Alan Henrikson

    Strategic Advisor

    Professor Alan Henrikson Fulbright Professor, EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies Department

    Alan Henrikson is Fulbright Chair in US-EU Relations at the College of Europe during 2010-2011. He is Director of Diplomatic Studies at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, where he teaches US diplomatic history, contemporary US-European relations, global political geography, and the history, theory, and practice of diplomacy. He has taught “American Foreign Policy Making” at the European Commission in Brussels. During the Spring of 2003 he was Fulbright/Diplomatic Academy Visiting Professor of International Relations at the Diplomatische Akademie in Vienna. He also has been Lloyd I. Miller Visiting Professor of Diplomatic History at the US Department of State, Visiting Professor at the National Institute for Defense Studies in Tokyo, and United Nations Development Programme Visiting Professor of Diplomatic History at the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing. Professor Henrikson received Ph.D., A.M., and A.B. degrees in History from Harvard University. He also is a graduate of the University of Oxford where he read Philosophy-Politics-and-Economics at Balliol College as a Rhodes Scholar. He has been a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. He also has been an Associate and Visiting Scholar at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. His current research focus is the diplomacy of the US-EU relationship, in the larger context of relations between the United States and Europe in the world.


  • Sharyl Cross

    Strategic Advisor

    Sharyl Cross, Distinguished Professor & Director Kozmetsky Center, St. Edward’s University & Global Policy Fellow, Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

    Sharyl Cross, PhD, was appointed Distinguished Professor and Director of the Kozmetsky Center at St. Edward’s University (Austin USA) and Global Policy Scholar at the Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Washington D.C.) in 2013. Dr. Cross was Professor at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen Germany from 2005-2013 where she was Director of Academics for both the Program in Advanced Security Studies and Senior Executive Seminar, and previously had been appointed Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. She earned a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles, and was a resident fellowship scholar and consultant at the RAND Corporation completing programs in Russian area and policy studies. Dr. Cross was a Senior Fulbright Scholar and Professor in Moscow serving on the faculty of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Institute of USA and Canada Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences. She has published widely in leading academic and policy sources on US/NATO-Russia security Issues, Russian foreign policy, Sino-Russian relations, Southeast European security and security sector reform, religious dimensions of security, and sources of violent extremism and terrorism. Dr. Cross has briefed/consulted for the U.S. State Department, U.S. Congress, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and among senior policy and defense institutions throughout Europe and Eurasia. She is currently co-directing a project on Religion and International Security together with faculty of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and with support of the Public Diplomacy Engagement section of NATO. Her most recent book is China, Russia, and Twenty First Century Global Geopolitics, co-authored with Dr. Paul Bolt, Oxford University Press, 2018.


  • Vasilis (Basil) Polemitis

    Strategic Advisor

    Vasilis (Basil) Polemitis

    Vasilis (Basil) Polemitis served as Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the United Arab Emirates and as a permanent representative to the International Renewable Energy Agency in Abu Dhabi, along with concurrent accreditation to the Kingdom of Bahrain, between 2015-2019. Prior to that, he served as a diplomatic advisor to the Minister of Defense, as Security Policy Director in the Foreign Ministry, as Deputy Head of Mission in Moscow and as Political Counselor in Washington DC. During the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU, he was president of the Counterterrorism Working Group (external aspects) in Brussels. He also served as the coordinator and contact point for the UN-OPCW mission for the removal of the chemical weapons of Syria in 2012.

    On the completion of his tenure in the UAE, he was honored with the Order of Independence First Class of the United Arab Emirates by the President of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his efforts towards the development and strengthening of co-operation between the UAE and Cyprus.

    Upon his return to Cyprus in late 2019, and after twenty years in the Foreign Service, he retired to join the private sector, serving as Chief Executive Officer of VP Ventures, a venture capital and consulting firm, which he founded, as well as a senior advisor and non-executive officer to a number of private companies and non – profit groups. He holds a BA from Pace University New York, an MA from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, and an MALS from Georgetown University. He is also a graduate of the High-Level Course (Master’s level) of the European Security and Defense College of the European External Action Service of the EU. He has an extensive publication record both in policy and academic journals and in the Press. He is married and has one daughter, and his favorite past-time activities are cooking, drawing and writing and reading about all things innovative.


  • Elias G. Carayannis

    Strategic Advisor

    Professor Elias G. Carayannis Professor Business School, The George Washington University

    Dr. Elias G. Carayannis is Full Professor of Science, Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, as well as co-Founder and co-Director of the Global and Entrepreneurial Finance Research Institute (GEFRI) and Director of Research on Science, Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, European Union Research Center, (EURC) at the School of Business of the George Washington University in Washington, DC. Dr. Carayannis‘ teaching and research activities focus on the areas of strategic Government-University-Industry R&D partnerships, technology road-mapping, technology transfer and commercialization, international science and technology policy, technological entrepreneurship and regional economic development. He has consulted for a wide variety technology driven organizations in both government and the private sector, including the World Bank, the European Commission, the Inter-American Development Bank, the US Agency for International Development, IKED, the National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research Program, the National Institute of Standards and Technology Advanced Technology Program, the National Coalition for Advanced Manufacturing (NACFAM), the USN CNO Office, Sandia National Laboratories‘ New Technological Ventures Initiative, the General Electric Corporate Training & Development Center, Cowen & Co, First Albany International and others. For more information please see:


  • Farid Mirbagheri

    Strategic Advisor

    Professor Farid Mirbagheri Chair of Middle Eastern Studies, University of Nicosia, Cyprus

    SM Farid Mirbagheri received his BA and PhD in International Relations from Keele University, UK. He is currently Professor of International Relations at the University of Nicosia, Cyprus, holder of the Dialogue Chair in Middle Eastern Studies (sponsored by the A. G. Leventis Foundation) in the same University and the executive director of the Diplomatic Academy in Cyprus (affiliated to the University of Nicosia). His writings cover Cyprus, the United Nations as well as Islam. His latest book on War & Peace in Islam: A Critique of Islamic/ist Political Discourses is out by Palgrave.


  • Kostas Lavdas

    Strategic Advisor

    Professor Kostas Lavdas European Politics, Panteion University

    Kostas A. Lavdas is Professor of European Politics at Panteion University. He was previously Professor of European Politics and Director of the Centre for Political Research and Documentation (KEPET) at the University of Crete, where he also served as Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs and Personnel and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences.

    Born in Athens in 1964, he studied political science, political sociology, public policy and international relations in Athens, the UK (at London School of Economics and the University of Manchester), and the USA (at MIT). He has published extensively in English, German and Greek on European politics, transatlantic relations, Greek politics and policy, comparative interest group politics and applied political theory. He has taught (as a Professor, an Associate Professor and a Senior Lecturer) and researched (as a Senior Research Fellow and a Research Associate) at several universities and research centers in Europe and the USA. In 2007-2009 and again in 2014-2016 he was the Constantine Karamanlis Professor of Hellenic and European Studies at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, USA, and in 2009 he was a Senior Research Fellow at the London School of Economics, UK.


  • Valbona Zeneli

    Strategic Advisor

    Valbona Zeneli Professor National Security Studies Marshall Center Germany

    Dr. Valbona Zeneli is professor of national security studies at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies. Born in Albania, Dr. Zeneli is an economist with an interest in international economy, marketing and international security politics. Her academic credentials are in the field of economics, and she holds a doctor of science degree in political economy from the University of Study of Bari, Italy. She earned a postgraduate diploma on international marketing from Georgetown University, Washington D.C. and graduated with honors in business administration from the University of Bologna, Italy. She is a graduate of the Marshall Center’s Leaders Program in International and Security Studies and is actively involved in the George Marshall Center Alumni Association, Albania as a board member. She is also a graduate of the Executive Education Program at Harvard Kennedy School. Dr. Zeneli has served as economic advisor to the Albanian ministers of defense and economy, and as chief of protocol and economic advisor to the prime minister. She has also worked for several Albanian private companies as an international relations adviser. She started her academic career in 2003 as a part time lecturer at the Albanian-Italian University Our Lady of Good Council in Tirana; then at the New York University of Tirana and later as a full time lecturer at the European University of Tirana. Dr. Zeneli’s current research and writing interests are in the area of international economy, foreign direct investments, and the importance of the quality of institutions for development in the transition economies. She is fluent in Albanian, Italian, and English and has good knowledge of German.


  • Prof. Stéphanie Laulhé Shaelou

    Strategic Advisor

    Stephanie Laulhe-Shaelou

    Prof. Stéphanie Laulhé Shaelou has been actively involved in teaching, research and knowledge transfer in Europe for the past fifteen years. Based in Cyprus for most of her career, her teaching and research focus primarily on multiple aspects of European law in an interdisciplinary setting, with a particular focus on fundamental rights including in times of crisis and their future development. She has lectured, researched, supervised and transferred knowledge at the undergraduate and postgraduate level in several universities throughout Europe including in the UK. French born and educated in Law and Linguistics (two separate degrees, University of Paris), she then went on to do her LLM and PhD in Law in the UK (University of Leicester), in the broad area of EU law and European integration. She joined the University of Central Lancashire, Cyprus (UCLan Cyprus) upon its creation, in September 2012 and has played an increasingly important role in the University’s development ever since, culminating with the responsibility of Head of the School of Law and research and quality assurance lead for the University since 2016. Since June 2017, she is a Professor of European Law and Reform. She supervises numerous LLM dissertations as well as PhDs in fields related to her own research including on the financial crisis, migration crisis, Brexit studies and other current issues in EU law. View her full academic profile at

    She demonstrates international standing in the field of European/EU law through the production of numerous peer reviewed outputs, key external academic and professional appointments, memberships, collaborations, research outputs/publications, editorial work and grant capture, all in the field of European/EU law with a particular emphasis on fundamental rights and crisis implications (constitutional rights, socio-economic rights, human rights in troubled territories, EU citizenship and fundamental freedoms, EU values, EU withdrawal scenarios, etc) as well as other current institutional, social, economic, political, governance and ethical issues pointing to the need for reform at the EU and/or national level. This is completed by evidence of international standing in her professional development in an interdisciplinary setting through her creating and/or belonging to professional bodies/NPOs and her continuous active engagement and impact both at the national and international level on the proper application of EU law, the protection of fundamental rights and dispute resolution including through her role as a certified mediator since 2017. She also currently belongs to networks of experts at the academic, professional and EU level. She is an expert for the European Commission for the programme ‘Europe for Citizens’ of the DG Migration and Home Affairs, as well as for the Research Executive Agency of the European Commission, Marie Curie individual fellowship programme (MSCA-IF), where she reviews proposals by high calibre researchers in her fields of expertise. She is trained and certified in conflict resolution and mediation and is also a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy. She has secured and managed significant resources on behalf of higher education institutions and the European Union and planned from their very inception and implemented projects attached to her person and expert profile in the field of EU legal studies (Jean Monnet Actions) and innovation (Horizon 2020, Swafs). She is a certified Data Protection Officer since 2018. She also significantly contributes through her research and innovation and entrepreneur work to economic, social, community or cultural engagement projects and continuous professional development (CPD), including with policy-makers and professionals, both in Cyprus and in the rest of Europe. She is one of the founding members and directors of the non-profit organisation ICLAIM (Interdisciplinary Centre for Law, Alternative and Innovative Methods) which is used as a social enterprise vehicle for social and community projects having an impact on the society (see From June 2018 to June 2019 she is a Cherie Blair Foundation Mentee under the Women in Business Mentoring Scheme as a Founder and Director of ICLAIM.


  • Despoina Afentouli

    Strategic Advisor

    Despina Afentouli, Strategic Advisor at Strategy International

    Mrs. Afentouli is the Public Liaison Officer for NATO for Southeastern Europe and Greece. She is a former Journalist at the Kathimerini Newspaper of Greece. Amongst her much primary and secondary and internationally known journalist work, Mrs Afentouli is an honorary member of Strategy International, from its day of start. Mrs Afentouli is a leading member and advisor of the Scientific Board of Strategy International.


  • Jasminka Simic

    Strategic Advisor

    Dr. Jasminka Simic, Balkans, Security and Political Science

    Jasminka Simic is a journalist and Editor in the National Radio and Television of Serbia. She holds a PhD in Political Sciences from the University of Belgrade, in issues of Euro-Atlantic integration, from the Department of International Studies, University of Belgrade. She holds a Masters of Political Sciences, experting in European Integration and European Parliament, Decision making process, from the faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade and a BA (hons) from the faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade. She Published the following books: European Parliament – An Actor In the Decision – Making Process of the European Union“, Službeni glasnik, Belgrde, 2010. In Search of a New Mission : NATO and the Yugoslav Crisis 1990-2001“, Službeni glasnik, Belgrade, 2010. Published articles such as Legislative Procedure of the European Union“ (1996), Challenges facing NATO IN THE 21st Century” in Journal “International problems”, Belgrade, (2009), NATO’s engagement in the former SFRY, 1991-2001” in Journal “International affairs”, Belgrade, (2009), She is also a participant in importance international conferences organized in Belgrade: Lectures on issues : „The International Security“, „Serbia’s European perspective“, „NATO in the New Era“: at the Faculty of Humanistic Science, Belgrade. Ms. Simic speaks English & French.


  • Igor Okunev

    Strategic Advisor

    Dr. Igor Okunev Vice-Dean, Associate Professor Moscow State Institute of International Relations

    Ph. D. (Cand. Polit. Sc.) in Political Science, Associate Professor at the Department of Comparative Politics, MGIMO University.
    He received his B.A. (Specialist) in Linguistics & Intercultural Communication from St. Petersburg State University and M.A. in Public History from Manchester University, holds a Ph. D. in Political Science from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University).

    He is the author of three books («Capital Cities in a Critical Geopolitics Mirror», «Geopolitics of Microstates» and «Political Geography» – all in Russian). He has 70 peer-review publications in Russian and English on political geography, critical geopolitics, federalism studies and comparative politics. In 2014 he was awarded as the best young Russian journalist in international relations.

    He is Co-Chair of the IPSA Research Committee on Geopolitics (RC-41), member of Russian Geographic Society and Association of American Geographers. He is the executive editor of an online version of journal Comparative Politics Russia and editorial board member of journal Cultural Relations Quarterly Review (Hungary).


  • Alexandros Alexiadis

    Strategic Advisor

    Alexandros Alexiadis Advisor to Business, Economic & Diplomatic issues

    Alexandros Alexiadis is a first councelor for Economic and Commercial Affairs. He was the head of the Office of Economic and Commercial Affairs of Greece in Israel, in Tel Aviv (appointed in October 2012). His last position was at the office of Economic and Commercial Affairs for Northern Greece, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic. He holds a Degree at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in French Literature. He holds a Master’s Degree in Communication of Organizations from Charles Sturt University, Australia. After finishing his military obligations, he entered and successfully graduated from the Department of Commercial Attachés of the National School of Public Administration. In 1993, He was a member at the Centre of International and European Economic Law in Thessaloniki, while with parallel duties at the Commercial and Industrial Chamber of Thessaloniki. In 1995, he was Vice Counselor for Commercial & Economic Issues at the Consulate General of Greece in Sydney, Australia. In 1999 he became a First Secretary for Economic and Commercial Affairs at the Embassy of Greece in Warsaw, Poland. In 2003, he was, the Second Counselor for Economic and Commercial Affairs and the Head of the Office for Economic and Commercial at the Consulate General of Greece in Johannesburg, RSA. In 2006 he became the Second Counselor for Economic and Commercial Affairs and Head of the Office for Economic and Commercial Affairs of Northern Greece, Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2007, he became the Second Counselor of Economic and Commercial Affairs and Director of the Office of the Deputy Secretary General for International Economic Relations & Economic Cooperation of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2009, he became the First Counselor for Economic and Commercial Affairs and Head of the Office for Economic and Commercial Affairs of Northern Greece. Mr Alexiadis Speaks English & French