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Our people - Permanent Secretariat

H.E.Maria Leissner

H.E. Maria Leissner

Secretary General

Ms. Maria Leissner was elected Secretary General in April 2012, being the first Secretary General of the Community of Democracies. Prior to that, she led the Community's Working Group on Governance.

 Ms. Leissner has been Member of Parliament in Sweden (1985 – 1991), where she served on the Foreign Affairs Committee and was party spokesperson for refuge and immigration issues. She chaired the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan and the Swedish women’s organisation ”Kvinnor Kan” (1991 – 1994). In 1995, she was elected leader of the Liberal Party, being the first woman leader of her party.

Joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2000), she was Ambassador to Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Belize and Costa Rica in (2000 - 2004). Later served as Director for NDI’s Governance program in Iraq (2004 – 2005), as Senior Adviser for Human Rights at AMM (EU/ASEAN peace monitoring mission) in Aceh, Indonesia (2005 – 2006), and in a large number of election monitoring and other short term democracy related missions with SIDA, The Scandinavian Institute for African Studies, NDI, and more. From 2006 she has served as Sweden’s Ambassador-at-large for democracy, and led a governmental delegation for Roma issues, including the production of a state investigation of the situation of the Roma minority in Sweden (2006 – 2010).

Ms. Leissner was chair of the board of the University College of Borås (2007 – 2010), and is currently chair of the advisory board of the Institute for Contemporary History at the University of Södertörn. She speaks Swedish, English, Spanish and French. 

Contact Ms. Maria Leissner
Ms.Magdalena Gawrońska

Ms. Magdalena Gawrońska

Director of External Affairs

Ms. Magdalena Gawrońska has served as Chief-of-Staff to the Secretary General of the Community of Democracies since July 2012.

As a diplomat on secondment from the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs she supports the Secretary General in all areas of her activity including development and implementation of strategic plans, identification of critical areas of collaborative international projects with various stakeholders, formulation of proposals on initiatives and advise on strategies for promoting and supporting democratization processes across the globe.
Prior to her appointment as Chief-of-Staff, Ms. Gawrońska served as specialist for the Community of Democracies at the Department of the United Nations and Human Rights at the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2009-2012). During her professional career she also worked for the Council of Europe (2009), Boston Consulting Group (2008), and the Warsaw University of Technology Business School (2005-2007).
Ms. Gawrońska has also been engaged in activities supporting and promoting democracy through election observation with the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, teaching Emerging Democracies at the Vistula University and cooperation on democracy-related matters with the Polish Robert Schuman Foundation.
In January 2014 Ms. Gawrońska participated in the International Visitor Leadership Program, the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program for current and emerging foreign leaders.
Ms. Gawrońska holds the title of Master of Economics from the Warsaw School of Economics. She speaks fluent Polish, English and French, currently also learning German and Spanish. 
Contact Ms. Magdalena Gawrońska
Read Ms. Gawrońska's professional blog
Mr. Matyas Eörsi

Mr. Matyas Eörsi

Senior Advisor to Secretary, General Head of Administration, Finances and HR

Mr. Matyas Eörsi joined the Permanet Secretariat of the Community of Democracies in May 2014, previously serving as adviser for the LEND Network and as Secretary General of the Parliamentary Forum for Democracy. 
He was first elected  Member of the Hungarian Parliament during the country’s first free elections, in 1990, and for 20 years served in different leadership positions in the Parliament, such as President of the Foreign Affairs Committee and President of the EU Affairs Committee.
Dr. Eörsi was a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) from 1994 to 2010. In 2002, he was elected leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe (ALDE) Group in the Assembly, a position he held for 7 years. He also served as Vice-President of Liberal International, and in the Bureau of the ELDR Party. In 2008, he was the Hungarian Government’s nominee as Secretary General of the Council of Europe. After having served in the Hungarian Parliament for 20 years, Dr. Eörsi was working for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) in Jordan and in Libya, for the Democracy Reporting International (DRI) to assist parliaments in the Arab Spring countries.

Dr. Eörsi was decorated with State Awards by the Governments of Bulgaria, Georgia and Taiwan for his services in international politics.

Contact Mr. Matyas Eörsi.
Mr.Francesco Lembo

Mr. Francesco Lembo

Head of Programs

Mr. Lembo has served in the Permanent Secretariat since May of 2013. Initially seconded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy and afterwards contracted by the Community of Democracies, Mr. Lembo is currently leading the Unit of Programs. Before joining, Mr. Lembo has served in different international organizations, including the United Nations (Liberia, East Timor), the OSCE (Kosovo) and the International Organization for Migration (Libya, Tunisia). Mr. Lembo has also worked as an election observer with the European Union and the OSCE (Guatemala, Angola, Ukraine, Mexico). Mr. Lembo holds a Master's degree in International Law and Human Rights.

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Mr.Grzegorz Majsterek

Mr. Grzegorz Majsterek

Head of Finance and Administration

Mr. Grzegorz Majsterek joined the Permanent Secretariat of the Community as Financial Officer in October 2013. 

Mr. Majsterek graduated from the Faculty of Management at the University of Warsaw.

He has gained experience in local and international organizations, including OSCE-ODIHR, the "Nobody's Children" Foundations for protection and prevention of violence against children, and the Polish Ministry of Labour and Social Policy. He speaks Polish, English and basic French. 

Contact Mr. Grzegorz Majsterek
Mr.Andrzej Kostek

Mr. Andrzej Kostek

LEND Network Coordinator

Mr. Andrzej Kostek has been with the Community for Democracies Permanent Secretariat since October 2012, coordinating and managing the Community’s LEND Network. 

Before joining the Community, Mr. Kostek worked as Programme Coordinator for the UEFA Euro-2012 European football tournament in Poland and Ukraine (2012) and the Polish Robert Schuman Foundation (2007-2011), and as independent expert on development of youth programmes and voluntary Service in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus region for SALTO EECA and the European Commission (since 2010).

He holds Master’s degree in International Relations with specialization in Eastern European Affairs, also gaining practical experience during traineeships at the Embassy of Poland in Baku and the General Consulate of Poland in Saint Petersburg (2006), and a voluntary service in nongovernmental organizations in Moscow (2007). He speaks Polish, English and Russian. 

Contact Mr. Andrzej Kostek


Ms.Beata Chrostek

Ms. Beata Chrostek

Executive Assistant and Office Manager

Ms. Beata Chrostek joined the Permanent Secretariat of the Community in June 2014. She is responsible for managing and ensuring the well-functioning of the Secretariat, as well as assisting the Secretary General in her work.  

Ms. Chrostek is a PhD candidate of International Law at the Catholic University of Lublin. 
She speaks Polish, English, and sign-language. 

Contact Ms. Beata Chrostek
Mr.Lukasz Lukaszek

Mr. Lukasz Lukaszek

Communications Officer

Mr. Lukasz Lukaszek is the Communications Officer at the Permanent Secretariat.
Please reach out to Mr. Lukasz Lukaszek: llukaszek@community-democracies.org
Ms.Kristine Luoma - Overstreet

Ms. Kristine Luoma - Overstreet

Program Coordinator

Ms. Kristine Luoma-Overstreet joined the Permanent Secretariat of the Community of Democracies in September 2013, and serves as the program coordinator for the working group on Education for Democracy, the LEND Network, and other programs.  


Ms. Luoma-Overstreet holds a master's degree in instructional design, and a bachelor's degree in political science.

Prior to joining the Permanent Secretariat, Ms. Luoma-Overstreet handled issues pertaining to the international treaty of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. She directed a grant program in South Africa for AIDS-related projects, built up school and community libraries in Mexico and Benin, developed training programs in numerous countries, and created community health education programs in Togo.    She speaks English, Spanish, and French.

Contact Ms. Kristine Luoma-Overstreet

Ms.Miłosława Zagłoba

Ms. Miłosława Zagłoba

Legal Counsel

Ms. Miłosława Zagłoba works as Legal Counsel at the Permanent Secretariat of the Community of Democracies. 

Ms. Zagloba holds a Master’s Degree degree from the Gdansk University Faculty of Law.

She is a member of the Gdansk District Council of Legal Advisers, and has previously worked for the Ministry of Science and IT of Poland, IBM and Maxdata. Ms. Zagloba participated in the UK FCO/ George Soros Fellowship program in Oxford. She speaks Polish, English and Russian.

Contact Ms. Miłosława Zagłoba
Ms.Nicolina Majewska

Ms. Nicolina Majewska

Coordinator for Presidency and Governing Council

Ms. Nicolina Majewska joined the Permanent Secretariat of the Community of Democracies in March 2012, and now fulfills the role of Coordinator for Presidency and Governing Council. 

Ms. Majewska is currently a PhD student at the Graduate School for Social Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Her main research interests focus on gender issues, especially women in politics, democracy and civil society. She speaks Romanian, Polish, English and Russian.

Contact Ms. Nicolina Majewska.
<October 2015>

Ministerial Conference 2015

The 8th Ministerial Conference
in El Salvador, July 22-24