I was born to a Swiss mother and a Greek dad, who raised me in a co-op just outside of Zurich. My Greek upbringing was so strong, I learnt swimming in the sea of Argolida on the Peloponnese years before I first put my foot on skis (and broke my arm never to take up the sport again).
I pursued my undergraduate in International Relations in Geneva. Upon completion, I decided to specialise in one region. Stunned by the lack of nuanced understanding of our most immediate neighbours and the dichotomous notion of Global North / Global South that excluded post-communist Europe, I decided to focus on this area with an MPhil in Russian and East European Studies at Oxford. A generous scholarship by the Berrow Foundation made this dream possible. To prepare, I spent a gap year with an internship in Slovakia and studying Russian in Belarus.
The time of my MPhil was the period when political scientists increasingly observed that we were moving from democratic transitions to democratic backsliding across the region. Seeing that it went hand in hand with a backlash against women's rights, feminist activists and "gender ideology", I decided to continue at Oxford with a DPhil in Politics, researching the mechanisms and implications of this phenomenon. Between extensive field research in Russia and Serbia, several visiting fellowships and teaching at Oxford, I wrote the DPhil in London.
Moving back to Switzerland after seven years abroad and many exciting moves thus at first also seemed daunting. A crucial event in the build up to this decision was Switzerland's nationwide Women's Strike in June 2019. It seemed like a calling: to come back and join the lines of feminist civil society actors and researchers in my country too. And while it may not be cosmopolitan London, it comes with a different edge: it feels like home.