Dr. Simonida Kacarska is the director and co-founder of the European Policy Institute, a think tank in Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia. Simonida holds a PhD in Politics and International Studies at the University of Leeds. Her research interests are related to the political transformation and European integration of the Balkans. She has held research and fellowship positions at the University of Edinburgh, the College of Europe, the Central European University, University of Oxford and the European University Institute. Her professional experience also includes lecturer at her alma mater the American University in Bulgaria, and a civil servant in the European integration office of the Macedonian government. She is a regular contributor to national and regional media and consults international organizations, including the OSCE and the Council of Europe.