Walk of fame – Our graduates

Liubov Abravitova, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the Republic of South Africa, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the Republic of Botswana and the Republic of Mozambique on a part-time basis

Liubov graduated International Relations Department in 2002.

“Five years of study at the International Relations Department have certainly become a solid foundation in pursuing my dream of representing a strong independent Ukraine in the international arena. The well-balanced knowledge I received was not a mere transfer of information from professors to students. Instead, it was a basis for new ideas and an impetus for further self-improvement. No university can teach you all the intricacies of diplomatic work, while very few universities can provide the “tools” for such work. Both my own experience and the examples of a number of modern-day Ukrainian diplomats attest that our department does pass such “tools” to its students. It is always nice to hear the leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine laud our Alma mater alumni. I hope that we will see our graduates among the heads of this institution in the near future!”

Liubov Abravitova

Dmytro Byliev, Charge d’Affairs of Ukraine in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Dmytro graduated International Relations Department in 2011

“Analytics and language skills are the two bulwarks around which one should build their profile in diplomacy. Those are sort of a basic professional toolkit that allows having comparative advantages in the world of international diplomacy. Solid academic background is a matter of utmost importance. This leads me to how grateful and respectful I am towards the team that led us through five years of studying at the IR department of Odesa I. I. Mechnikov National University. Its professional academic team showed us the horizons and gave us the tools to navigate this infinite sea of IR theories, methods, monographs, and authors. The secret of their highly efficient performance in teaching was that every single one of them approached their task as something personal. There was no place for imitation or formalism.”

Dmytro Byliev

Maryna Vorotnyuk, PhD, associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (London); Member of the Board, Foreign Policy Council „Ukrainian Prism”

IR ONU 2005 alumna

Maryna worked as a researcher at the Centre for International Studies of ONU (2006-2013); a research fellow at the Odesa Branch of the National Institute for Strategic Studies; a visiting lecturer at Comenius University in Bratislava; Center for European Neighbourhood Studies researcher at Central European University (Budapest, Vienna).

“I really like the sense of our collective belonging to something common and meaningful, to the idea that we all represent the “Odesa School of IR.” It has its own history and a connection between generations of professionals. At ONU, we have heard that “We see further than others because we stand on the shoulders of the giants” from our early student days.”

Maryna Vorotnyuk

Evgeniia Gaber, PhD, Non-resident senior fellow, Atlantic Council

IR ONU 2007 alumna

In 2009-2014, Evgeniia worked at the IR Department and in 2014-2018 she was an interpreter and then the second secretary of the Embassy of Ukraine in Turkey. Evgeniia worked as the deputy director of the Diplomatic Academy named after H. Udovenko at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine in 2018-2020, Advisor to the Prime Minister of Ukraine on Foreign Policy, and Senior Researcher at the Center for Modern Turkish Studies (Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, Ottawa). She defended her dissertation “Regional dimension of Turkish-American relations in the post-bipolar period” in 23.00.04 – Political problems of international systems and global development – at Taras Shevchenko National University. She is the author of more than 40 scientific papers and co-author of several collective monographs on foreign policy of Ukraine, Turkey, and security issues in the Black Sea region and the Middle East.

“Every time during official talks and the most difficult translations I thank my Alma mater. I still use the theoretical knowledge and practical skills that I gained while studying at the IR Department. Diplomats, political scientists, analysts, and interpreters – these are the versatile soldiers with knowledge of several foreign languages that graduate ONU IR department. Thank you very much for everything!”


Yermakov Anton, EU digitalization project, EU4DIGITALUA

Anton graduated International Relations Department in 2008.

Anton worked as a media and communications specialist, EUBAM (2020-2022).

"The Department of International Relations is a great place where a student can get everything he wants to get. Knowledge, friends, academic achievements, entertainment – you only have to decide on your priorities. FIRPS provided me with a solid theoretical foundation which was useful at the beginning of my journey in this field. A powerful English language school will give you all the tools to start a career in the international sphere. I want to say a special "thank you" to O. Naboka, A. Zakharchenko and O. Brusylovska for teaching and understanding, for not letting me relax and for what I have gained over the years!"


Valeriia Lozova-Hesse, research consultant at the Open Nuclear Network (ONN), a management and research consultant at Atomic Reporters (AR), a fellow at the Odessa Center for Non-Proliferation (OdCNP).

Valeriia graduated International Relations Department in 2015.

Master of International security and nonproliferation (University of Georgia, USA), Fulbright and Muskie scholar, visiting researcher at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.

International Atomic Energy Agency intern (Vienna, Austria), a consultant at the World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS). She is Chair of the Annual Meeting Plenary Committee at the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management (INMM), a member of the Women in Nuclear IAEA (WiN) Executive Committee, European Leadership Network (ELN), and Black Sea Women in Nuclear (BSWN). She is the founder of “Ukraine Aid. Community”, an NGO which helps Ukraine.

“It is the broad knowledge and serious training at the International Relations department that makes its alumni so competitive. High level of English became a very important advantage in competing for the scholarships I received. ONU IR department has a very rigorous approach to language studies. On top of that, the fact that all the professors are truly passionate about their spheres of interest and actively participate in international scientific events played a special role in my development as a professional. Such attitude inspires students to develop, constantly improve, and explore. For me, personally, the existence of a unique field of research at ONU – weapons of mass destruction nonproliferation became crucial. The IR department’s Dr. Polina Sinovets is the director of the only nonproliferation center in the country. I am very grateful to my dear IR department that it has become a place of inspiration, where students are always treated with warmth and respect!”

Valeriia Lozova

Nataliia Melnyk, PhD,

Nataliia graduated International Relations Department in 2002.

Nataliia worked as First Secretary of the Mission of Ukraine to NATO.

“I recall my studies at the department of International Relations of Odessa National University (1997-2002) and doctoral studies (2002-2006) with warmth, tenderness, and deep gratitude. The thorough knowledge, well-built program, and interaction with prominent international political scientists, who had already gained international recognition in the USA and Europe (S. Appatov, I. Koval, V. Glebov, O. Brusylovska, V. Dubovyk, S. Glebov, P. Sinovets, and D. Kuzmin), allowed me to enter the diplomatic service of Ukraine immediately after graduation. I would also like to express my gratitude to my supervisor, Prof. I. Koval, who devoted many years to the Department of International Relations; to all my English, German, and Turkish teachers for their patience and innovative methodologies in teaching foreign languages to students; and to all the Department staff for creating a unique atmosphere of kindness and inspiration. I always advise enrolling in our program if one dreams of working for the diplomatic service of Ukraine”.


Pashaeva Ksenia, Doctor of Philosophy (Political Science), leading specialist of the Regional Department of the Diplomatic Academy of Ukraine named after Hennadiy Udovenko at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine in Odesa

Ksenia graduated International Relations Department in 2016.

In 2017-2021, she studied at the graduate school of Odesa I. I. Mechnikov National University. In 2021, she defended her dissertation on the topic: “Factors of political transformation of the countries of the South Caucasus.”

“Education at ONU is an important stage in the life of an individual, during which it is necessary that the formation of a future specialist takes place under the influence of experienced and talented professionals. This is exactly what the teaching staff of IR Department is like. In my opinion, the IR Department is the best option for acquiring knowledge and developing professional skills that meet the needs of today. In addition, the atmosphere at the Department is special, which stimulates scientific and professional movement forward and conquering new horizons, and your teachers are a personal example of this.”


Rusova Olga, PhD, Second Secretary at the Embassy of Ukraine in the Kingdom of Thailand

Olga graduated International Relations Department in 2011.

In 2011-2015, she studied at the graduate school of Odesa I. I. Mechnikov National University, and two years later she defended her dissertation on the topic “Weimar Triangle Countries in European Integration and Security Processes” in the IIR, Taras Shevchenko National University. She worked as a leading specialist of the Regional Department of the Diplomatic Academy of Ukraine named after Hennadiy Udovenko at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine in Odesa in 2016-2020. In the 2019/20 academic year, she became a student of the Estonian School of Diplomacy as part of a 9-month postgraduate education program in the theory and practice of international relations and European integration. She is the author of more than 20 analytical and scientific articles, the co-author of a collective monograph devoted to the study of foreign policy in the post-truth era, and the developer of a certified distance learning course on cyber diplomacy and digital policy for diplomatic and civil service employees.

“An extremely important period of my life – formation as a person and a researcher – is connected with ONU. The acquired knowledge has more than once come in handy during the performance of my professional duties, and the desire for self-improvement, which appeared in my student days, continues to encourage comprehensive development. A huge thank to the entire teaching staff of the IR Department for your competence, dedication, guidance and support!”


Samokhvalov Vsevolod, Dr, Adjunct Professor, Free University of Brussels / Scientific Officer, European Research Executive Agency

Vsevolod graduated International Relations Department in 1999.

He studied also at National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and University of Cambridge.

“Looking at back at five years when I studied as undergraduate, I feel deep gratitude to the founding fathers of the Department of International Relations of ONU. Despite the context of economic hardship, social and political uncertainty of the 1990s, senior and younger professors at the University showed remarkable vision and resilience to create a new University Department of International Relations. First generation of students, we could see how their hard effort was bringing first tangible and inspiring results: first unique courses with access to rare books (crucial in the pre-internet era), first internships and first summer schools. Strongly committed to empowerment of students, our professors never hesitated to share with us insight into professional craft and opportunities, either inviting to contribute to the analytical work or run together first exit polls in tense atmosphere of municipal elections in Odesa. Having gained such a unique and fascinating experience at ONU as springboard to my international trajectory I could on numerous occasions’ witness that our Department in fact in many senses was revolutionary intellectual endeavour. Deep knowledge of specialized courses was combined with breadth of historical, area-studies disciplines. Knowledge of regional languages gave me access and in-depth understanding of regional system of international relations in the Balkans and Mediterranean. Courses of English together with courses on theory of translation helped to engage into interdisciplinary research of top level and to talk on equal terms even most advanced students in leading European and American universities. Proud and happy to have gone through these formative and difficult years together with ONU; wish it to remain intellectual beacon at the regional, national and international level”.


Violetta Udovik, PhD, lecturer, Meiji Gakuin University, Japan

Violetta graduated International Relations Department in 2008.

Violetta worked as а Second Secretary of the Embassy of Ukraine in Japan for cultural and humanitarian issues (2017-2022).

Master of Law in Political Science from Tokyo University (Master Program for History of Politics and Diplomacy of Japan, 2009-2012). Fluent in Japanese, English, and Spanish. Was responsible for organizing many cultural events to promote Ukraine in Japan (2017-2020).

“While studying at the Department of International Relations, Political Science, and Sociology I had an excellent opportunity to not only study international relations but also undergo training in the UK and Germany, as well as visit Japan. I am very grateful to our professors for their knowledge, advice, and inspiration!”



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