Catherine Ashton was appointed Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Queen's Privy Council in Gordon Brown’s first Cabinet in June 2007. In 2008, she was appointed as the first woman British European Commissioner and became the first woman Commissioner for Trade in the European Commission. In 2009, Ashton became the European Union's first High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and won praise for her work as a negotiator in difficult international situations.
Gudrun Persson is deputy research director at the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI), and associate professor at the Department of Slavic Studies, Stockholm University. She focuses on Russian foreign policy, and Russian military strategic thought. She lectures regularly at Stockholm University and Uppsala University, and has published widely on Russian affairs, including four monographs. She is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences, and holds a Ph.D. in Government from LSE.
Natalia Savelyeva is a Resident Fellow at the Future Russia Initiative with the Democratic Resilience Program at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA). She is a sociologist who has been working as a researcher with the Public Sociology Laboratory of the Centre for Independent Social Research in St. Petersburg, Russia. Her current scholarship explores multiple themes, including the violent conflict that began in Ukraine in 2014. Her research takes a bottom-up approach that focuses on the perspectives of direct participants in the fighting and its aftermath. Natalia analyzes combatants, both Ukrainian and Russian, who traveled to Donbas voluntarily, as well as different Russian self-organized initiatives and pre-existing political organizations and movements, which considerably bolstered the anti-Kyiv side of the conflict, especially during its first stages.
Leon Hartwell is the Sotirov Fellow at LSE IDEAS and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Washington D.C. His research interests include conflict resolution, genocide, transitional justice, diplomacy, democracy, and the Western Balkans. Previously, Hartwell was CEPA’s Acting Director of the Transatlantic Leadership Program and a Title VIII Fellow. From 2012 to 2013, he was also the Senior Policy Advisor for Political and Development Cooperation at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Zimbabwe, where his work included government and civil society engagement, political reporting, peace building projects, and supporting human rights defenders. In 2019, Hartwell completed a joint doctoral degree summa cum laude at Leipzig University (Germany) and Stellenbosch University (South Africa). His thesis analyzed the use of mediation in the resolution of armed conflicts.