Yana Popkostova

Class of 2009, MSc European Politics and Governance

Yana is the Founder and Managing Director of the European Centre for Energy and Geopolitical Analysis. The centre is committed to fostering impactful energy, climate and foreign policy at European and international level that promotes inclusive, resilient and sustainable low-carbon transition; as well as peace, and the rule of law.

Looking back over the past decade, I feel that all the impact and accomplishments I’ve achieved have a grain of LSE-ness in them...
Yana Popkostova

I attribute my success to immense grit and unapologetic ambition, but LSE equipped me with a set of tangible skills to make an impact. Being surrounded by some of the brightest people in the world challenged me and expanded my cultural and intellectual horizons, but also made me conscious of a responsibility to use my potential to advance policy and politics that bring positive change. This conviction has been a steady companion on my path: both during times of career ascent and in times of hiatus when it boosted my resilience and pushed me through adversity – always conscious of my self-worth and destination.

I chose LSE for obvious reasons; it has been the top post-graduate institution on social sciences for decades running. I felt LSE attracts people like myself: hungry to leave a legacy and push the frontiers of what is possible. I was proven right. LSE is an incubator of talent, uniting seemingly diverse individuals in a community of action and aspiration.

I was fortunate to study under leading policy scholars and practitioners: the late Maurice Fraser, Spyros Economides, and Eiko Thielemann are among the few I will forever be grateful to for shaping my policy compass. In diverse seminars I was challenged to design solutions to policy stalemates. This is something that helped me develop a critical framework of mind focused on pragmatic policy making that I use today: be it to consult a public stakeholder on policy design, tackle business inequalities, or model future scenarios. Outside the classroom daily lectures from Heads of States and Nobel laureates, binge discussions on politics at the George, and organising EU Society debates were all humbling moments of enhanced learning and social bonding. I also met some of my best friends, with whom I’ve celebrated weddings, births, and trips, and who have never ceased being the finest intellectual sparring partners and inspiration. This exquisite community - to leverage and lean on throughout life, in every corner of the world - is the most cherished gift bequeathed by LSE.

Since graduation I have served as a policy advisor and strategist mainly within the EU policy incubator: spanning institutional, non-profit, and corporate contexts, and culminating in establishing the European Centre for Energy and Geopolitical Analysis. My work explores the layered implications of governance, geopolitical and commodities volatility on energy transition pathways. I focus on building corporate and regulatory anticipatory foresight for holistic and agile risk management, and engage directly with decision-makers from different communities to foster policies that promote resilient low-carbon growth, as well as peace, and the rule of law.

In all my experiences the LSE legacy has been instrumental – it’s helped me develop an ability to spot links between policy silos, to identify deficiencies, and to muster cross-sectoral engagement which generates creative solutions to challenges in geopolitics, energy transition, and climate. Looking back over the past decade, I feel that all the impact and accomplishments I’ve achieved have a grain of LSE-ness in them. I’m not nostalgic, but rather grateful for the choice to enter the open LSE door which was the key to so many others.