Edmund S. Muskie Professional Fellowship Program forms inaugural Alumni Council

Washington, D.C. (December 21, 2021) – The Edmund S. Muskie Professional Fellowship Program is excited to announce the formation of its inaugural Alumni Council.

The Muskie Program empowers emerging leaders of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan by providing them with practical skills to promote mutual understanding and support the long-term establishment of strong civil societies in their home countries. Over 300 alumni have participated in the program since 2015.

The Alumni Council was formed to help alumni build on their program experience and further strengthen the Muskie Program’s unique, international alumni network. The Alumni Council will serve as a representative body of the Muskie Professional Fellowship Program in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Caucasus supporting the mission of fostering international cooperation among program alumni and bringing positive change to the Muskie region.

The Alumni Council has already started working towards its mission. Its members have established committees to effectively delegate tasks and determine the Council’s direction. The Alumni Council also plans to finalize its strategic plan and charter in early 2022.

The inaugural Alumni Council members hope the foundation they are creating will lead to success for many years to come as the Muskie alumni network continues to grow!


Please meet the members of the inaugural Muskie Alumni Council!

Aliaksei Kharytaniuk, Muskie Class of 2017; Belarus

Aliaksei currently works as a Program Development and Reporting Officer with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). He is based in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh and is involved in the humanitarian response to the Rohingya refugee crisis. Previously, he worked with IOM at the national and international level focusing on combating Trafficking in Human Beings in Belarus and Laos.




Azat Samuratkyzy, Muskie Class of 2017; Kazakhstan

Azat is currently a Senior Associate at the Astana Financial Services Authority with expertise in policy and legislative development, international project management, economic development, and consulting. She is a customer-centric professional who strives to maximize the social impact and economic returns of businesses.




Darya Levchenko, Muskie Class of 2018; Ukraine

Darya currently works as a Fundraiser and Bid Manager at Internews Ukraine, where she is responsible for project design and resource management for communication campaigns on human rights, media literacy, and independent media development. She also develops educational projects for youth in southeast Ukraine—her home region—where she connects future cultural managers and artists with experienced art professionals to help young Ukrainians reimagine their homeland as a place of opportunity for expression.



Firdavs Navruzov, Muskie Class of 2015; Uzbekistan

Firdavs is an education leader and expert researching private sector education in Uzbekistan. He managed the language and tutoring school “LTC Leader,” and a private school “The Knowledge Academy.” He is currently a Principal at the Presidential School in Bukhara. In addition to the MA in Teaching English as a Second Language he earned from Minnesota State University as part of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program, he also holds both a BA and MA in English Philology and Literary Criticism from Bukhara State University, Uzbekistan.



Gayane Grigoryan, Muskie Class of 2017; Armenia

Gayane is a Ph.D. candidate at Old Dominion University in the Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering. In addition to research, Gayane is involved in community development activities along with many national and international organizations. She is interested in a variety of topics, including artificial intelligence, international education, learning different languages, and exploring different cultures.



Gulshat Maatkerimova, Muskie Class of 2017; Kyrgyz Republic

Gulshat is an experienced program manager, currently a Civil Society and Good Governance Manager at Aga Khan Foundation in Kyrgyzstan. Four times alumna of USG Programs: W. Fulbright Foreign Exchange Students (2016-2018) at the University of Oregon; E. Muskie Internship Program (2017) at East-West Management Institute Inc. in NYC; Junior Faculty Development Program (2009-2010) at California State University Long Beach, and Intensive Internship in American Studies through the project “Freedom Support Act Partnership in American Studies” (2005) at the University of Kentucky. Gulshat is a co-founder of the English Club for Immigrants (September 2018) at New York University.


Ketevan Vashakidze, Muskie Class of 2019; Georgia

Ketevan is a lawyer and a lecturer. She develops policy documents and manuals for professionals on national as well as international projects. Ketevan is proud of three professional achievements: receiving ‘Dean’s Award for Excellence’ at UMB LLM program; passing the U.S. bar exam and serving as a public prosecutor for 10 years at the Prosecution Service of Georgia. Ketevan believes that the most important portion of the exchange programs starts when the programs are over and alumni are expected to exhibit compassion, knowledge, leadership skills and cultural awareness in their home countries to make a lasting impact.


Muslima Maksudzoda, Muskie Class of 2019; Tajikistan

Muslima is a Legal Consultant at the World Bank Group’s Office of Suspension and Debarment, where she assists the counsel and the Chief Suspension and Debarment Officer in reviewing sanctions cases and determining whether to suspend the contracting eligibility of respondent firms and individuals. Prior to joining the World Bank, Ms. Maksudzoda worked as an associate at AAA Law Offices LLC (AAA Attorneys) practicing business law in Tajikistan, and also worked for the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Tajikistan and the Danish Refugee Council in Tajikistan. She is also an alumna of a co-founder of the Tajik free online legal guide.