Three “Policy Entrepreneurs” Selected for Inaugural Ron Asmus Fellowship
BRUSSELS (March 27, 2012) – The German Marshall Fund of the United States announces the selection of Nora Fisher Onar, Merle Maigre, and Mark Simakovsky as the three recipients of the inaugural Asmus Policy Entrepreneurs Fellowship. They were introduced at the German Marshall Fund’s Brussels Forum during the March 23-25 weekend.
Named after Ronald D. Asmus, the former executive director of GMF’s Brussels office, who died on April 30, 2011, the Asmus fellows were selected as promising young foreign policy professionals whose fellowship projects show a commitment to the transatlantic relationship and will challenge existing foreign policy practices — two ideas that Asmus embodied.
“Ron would be pleased to see the work Merle, Nora, and Mark have already done, and excited about the projects they are pursuing during this fellowship,” said GMF President Craig Kennedy. “Ron loved coming up with new ideas, challenging convention, and strategizing to implement a plan, and these fellows share that passion.”
Over the course of the year, Asmus Fellows will take advantage of existing GMF activities and networks to advance their policy questions and to frame policy alternatives before summarizing their results by the year’s end. The Fellows will also be invited to attend three or four key GMF events, and may be invited to present formally or discuss their ideas at some of these events.
Fellows are required to be under age 40 and are selected through a competitive application process. GMF allocates $25,000 per fellow for travel, research, and meeting expenses related to the fellowship. Fellows will produce a written report at the end of the fellowship that outlines a policy vision and policy options for his or her chosen project.
The fellows and their projects:
- Nora Fisher Onar, 35, United States – “Toward a New Grand Bargain? Turkey, the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Transatlantic Alliance”
Nora Fisher Onar is an assistant professor of international relations at Bahçeşehir University in Istanbul and a visiting fellow at the Centre for International Studies at Oxford. Fisher Onar, has published extensively on Turkey’s evolving relationship with Europe, the United States, and the Middle East in leading academic and policy fora. She has served as a lecturer at Worcester College, Oxford, and a project manager at the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV). She has a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins SAIS, and a DPhil. in international relations from the University of Oxford, where she was a fellow of St. Antony’s College. She also studied as a Fulbright Scholar at Bosphorus University, Istanbul.
- Merle Maigre, 34, Estonia – “Transatlantic Defense Policy: Avoiding European Demilitarization”
Merle Maigre is a policy advisor in the Policy Planning Unit at NATO, a position she has held since 2010. She previously worked as a researcher at the International Centre for Defence Studies in Tallinn, Estonia; as deputy head of the Euro-Atlantic Integration and Security Sector Reform program at the NATO Liaison Office in Kiev, Ukraine; and as head of the NATO bureau in the Estonian Ministry of Defence. Maigre has bachelor’s degrees from Tartu University in Tartu, Estonia, and Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont; a master’s degree in war studies from King’s College London, and has also studied at Johns Hopkins University’s SAIS-Bologna Center and the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris.
- Mark Simakovsky, 31, United States – “‘Smart Enlargement’: Shaping NATO’s European Partnerships and Enlargement in a New Era”
Mark Simakovsky is the Eurasia Strategy Advisor and NATO Coordinator in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia Policy in the U.S. Department of Defense. He has been the Country Director for Georgia and Moldova in the same office, a bilateral/political officer in the Office of Russian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, and a special assistant to the director of the Eurasia Policy Division of the U.S. Department of Defense, the latter two positions as a Presidential Management Fellow. Simakovsky holds a bachelor’s degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and a master’s degree from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. He also has been a Fulbright Scholar in Tbilisi, Georgia, and was a participant in the Manfred Wörner Seminar.
The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) is a non-partisan American public policy and grantmaking institution dedicated to promoting better understanding and cooperation between North America and Europe on transatlantic and global issues.
GMF does this by supporting individuals and institutions working in the transatlantic sphere, by convening leaders and members of the policy and business communities, by contributing research and analysis on transatlantic topics, and by providing exchange opportunities to foster renewed commitment to the transatlantic relationship. In addition, GMF supports a number of initiatives to strengthen democracies.
Founded in 1972 through a gift from Germany as a permanent memorial to Marshall Plan assistance, GMF maintains a strong presence on both sides of the Atlantic. In addition to its headquarters in Washington, DC, GMF has seven offices in Europe: Berlin, Paris, Brussels, Belgrade, Ankara, Bucharest, and Warsaw. GMF also has smaller representations in Bratislava, Turin, and Stockholm.