Get to know Anna Kravtšenko, our new Project Director for the office in Kyiv!

Anna has been heading the office in Kyiv since November 1, 2021
Анна Кравченко

Anna Kravtšenko, born in Estonia, studied political science and East European studies in Berlin, Germany. She has been working in international development since 2012. She started her professional career with German development agency GIZ, working in Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Germany, and advising the German Federal Government on issues of civic engagement, anti-corruption, transparency and accountability of state institutions in developing countries. She was also Senior policy advisor for development cooperation and human rights in the FDP parliamentary group in the German Bundestag. Anna speaks German, English, Russian, Estonian and French, and still learns Ukrainian.

We talked with Anna about her impressions of moving to Kyiv, discussed her experience and plans for the future:

Anna, you have just arrived to Kyiv last week. Welcome! :) How do you feel? What are your first impressions after arrival to Ukraine?

Since it is not my first time in Ukraine and in Kyiv, I was very happy to finally relocate to one of my favourite cities. I adore Kyiv for being a dynamic, modern capital, with so many young people around. I’m a huge coffee lover, and Kyiv offers good coffee basically on every corner. In addition to that, I love art, and I can’t wait to explore Kyiv’s art centres and exhibitions.

Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom has offices in more than 60 countries worldwide. How and why did you select Ukraine and what were your first thoughts when you got this offer to join the Ukrainian team?

For me it was a no-brainer: I just had to accept this offer and seize the opportunity! I have a Master’s degree in East European Studies and I was always fond of the region. After several years in policy advisory I realised that I would like to work in Eastern Europe again and contribute to democratic development on the ground. I think that Ukraine is on the right track to a free, democratic society, where the rights of every individual are equally respected. This is the achievement of every citizen, activist, journalist and entrepreneur. Still, there is a long way to go, and I would like to support Ukraine on this path.

What life events, people or coincidences in your life do you think led you here to Kyiv? And what was generally your path to be acquainted with the Foundation?

I’ve known FNF since my time as FNF scholarship holder, so over 10 years now. I also had a chance to intern in the South Caucasus office during my studies, and since then I knew – one day I would be managing one of the FNF’s offices :)

I myself have been a liberal activist since 2009, supporting and promoting liberal ideas on every occasion possible. I’ve been actively involved in FNF’s work as facilitator, speaker and mentor for years now, and this assignment is a wonderful possibility for me to unite my passion for liberalism, my professional development and my interest in the region.

Talking about changes in life and professional development, what inspires you and motivates you the most in your life? Where do you find inspiration?

Looking back at my experience in international cooperation, one thing is absolutely clear to me: we (=any organisation working abroad) are as good as our local employees are. Without their expertise and knowledge on the ground we cannot achieve any sustainable success. So, my source of inspiration are my colleagues. I’m looking forward to work with our Freedom Team in Ukraine, and being a leader for such an inspirational team. By the way, we will be hiring a new project coordinator very soon. Maybe one of the readers will feel motivated to apply? ;)

What do you think about the top-priorities in our work in Ukraine for the next years? Which are the areas we need to develop above all things?

In the era of disinformation and fake news we will continue supporting independent media and professional trainings for journalists. Furthermore, we will contribute to citizens’ pursuit of transparency and accountability. And, we will go on providing assistance to social entrepreneurs who are changing the society through their solution oriented business ideas. 

Since our office is also in charge of Belarus, I think it is obvious that supporting the Belarusian democratic movement is also a top-priority for us.