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Our people - Permanent Secretariat

AmbassadorMaria Leissner

Ambassador Maria Leissner

Secretary General

Ambassador Maria Leissner has served as secretary general of the Community of Democracies, a global intergovernmental coalition, since 2012. As secretary general, she leads the organization’s permanent secretariat in Warsaw and serves as a vocal advocate for democracy, human rights and rule of law around the world.


Under her leadership, the Community has expanded its mandate to include a number of ambitious projects, such as the LEND network that mentors political figures in transitioning democracies, and developed a permanent secretariat to implement the priorities of the 28 countries that make up the Community of Democracies’ Governing Council.
Ambassador Leissner brings a valuable perspective to the Community thanks to her unique combination of experience in politics, diplomacy and democracy-promotion.
She served as a member of the Swedish Parliament from 1985-1991. As a legislator, she sat on the Foreign Affairs Committee and was party spokesperson for refugee and immigration issues.
Ms. Leissner was elected leader of the Liberal Party (FP) in 1995, becoming the first woman to lead that party.
Ambassador Leissner joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2000. She served as Sweden’s envoy to Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Belize and Costa Rica (2000-2004) and ambassador-at-large for democracy (2006-2012), during which time she also chaired a governmental Delegation for Roma Issues that investigated the situation of this minority group in her country.
She has participated in a number of international programs, including a large number of election-monitoring missions with SIDA, the Scandinavian Institute for African Studies and other organizations. Ambassador Leissner directed the National Democratic Institute’s governance program in Iraq (2004-2005) and served as Senior Adviser for Human Rights at AMM (EU/ASEAN peace monitoring mission) in Aceh, Indonesia (2005-2006).
She chaired the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (1991-1994), Swedish women’s organization “Kvinnor Kan” (1991-1994), board of the University of College of Borås (2007–2010), the advisory board of the Institute for Contemporary History at the University of Södertörn (2011-2015) and was a member of the Swedish Commission Against Antiziganism (2014-2015).
Dr. Matyas Eörsi

Dr. Matyas Eörsi

Senior Advisor & Director of Administration, Finance and Human Resources

Dr. Matyas Eörsi is a senior advisor to the secretary general and Head of Administration, Finance and Human Resources at the Community of Democracies. A former lawmaker and senior official in Hungary, he joined the Permanent Secretariat in 2014.

Dr. Eörsi, a former State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, became active in politics during the political changes that swept across Central and Eastern Europe in 1989. He was an active participant in the roundtable negotiations that led to Hungary’s peaceful transition from Communism to a democratic market economy in 1989 and 1990.
In the historical referendum in 1989, Dr. Eörsi served on Hungary’s first Central Election Committee (CEC). In 1990, he was elected to Parliament during the country’s first free elections. He served in leadership positions in the Parliament for 20 years, until 2010.

At the international level, Dr. Eörsi was a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) from 1994 to 2010. In 2002, Dr. Eörsi was elected Leader of the ALDE Group in the Assembly, a position he held until 2009. He also served as Vice-President of Liberal International, and Bureau member of the ELDR Party. In 2008, he was the Hungarian Government’s nominee as Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
In the Council of Europe, Dr. Eörsi was involved in numerous projects that allowed him to share his transition experiences with other countries in Central Asia, Africa, the Middle East and beyond. He was the Council of Europe rapporteur for several countries and political issues. In his capacity as rapporteur, Dr. Eörsi focused on democratic institutions, with a particular focus on parliaments, including the rules of procedure, actions of committees, including investigating committees, anticorruption efforts and several other fields.
In 2011, Dr. Eörsi worked for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) in Jordan. In Libya, he worked for Democracy Reporting International (DRI) to assist parliaments in the Arab Spring countries. He has also visited Tunisia, Egypt and Libya to share transition experiences.
Dr. Eorsi holds a doctorate in law from the Eötvös Loránd University.
Ms.Magdalena Gawrońska

Ms. Magdalena Gawrońska

Director of External Affairs

Magdalena Gawronska, a career diplomat seconded by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is the Director of External Affairs in the Permanent Secretariat of the Community of Democracies.


She previously served as chief of staff to Secretary General Maria Leissner, supporting the ambassador in all areas of her activities, including development and implementation of strategic plans. She was also responsible for managing the day-to-day activities and personnel of the Permanent Secretariat (2012-2015).

Ms. Gawronska started her career with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2009 as a specialist assigned to the Community of Democracies within the Department of the United Nations and Human Rights, where she oversaw the programming at the Community’s Permanent Secretariat until 2012.

She has also worked for the Council of Europe (2009), Boston Consulting Group (2008) and the Warsaw University of Technology Business School (2005-2007).

In addition to her diplomatic experience, Ms. Gawronska has engaged in activities supporting and promoting democracy as an election observer with the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. She has also taught Emerging Democracies at Vistula University as well as cooperation on democracy-related matters with foundations and non-governmental organizations.

She has participated in a number of international programs and is an alumnus of the Marshall Memorial Fellowship, the German Marshall Fund’s leadership development program for European leaders and the U.S. Department of State’s professional exchange program for current and emerging foreign leaders, the International Visitor Leadership Program.

Magdalena Gawronska received a master’s in economics from the Warsaw School of Economics. 

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.
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