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We are Frankly Speaking.

Frankly Speaking specializes in youth policy and intercultural non-formal political education, and has been working at the intersection of policy, educational practice and research since 2005. 


Frankly Speaking’s key competence lies in distilling what can be learned from educational practice, grassroots youth work and activism as a basis for making policies and programmes work better for the young people at which they are aimed. Frankly Speaking enjoys the trust of European and international institutions, international foundations, NGOs and development organisations, universities, as well as youth and youth supporting organisations. Each new project and client relationship developed brings with it challenges, from which lessons about how to work on and for human rights, intercultural relations, democracy, change, education can be learned. Frankly Speaking’s profile is a constant work in progress. 



Ajsa has been Frankly Speaking’s lead project officer since 2019. Prior to joining Frankly Speaking, Ajsa was Director for Development Civic Alliance in Montenegro and Executive director of 35mm and Forum MNE – during which time she was responsible for the conceptualization, implementation and supervision of programs in support of Human Rights, Media and Youth Work in those civil society organizations. She was constantly engaged in building the capacities of staff and partners in youth work competencies, project management and human rights-based approach. Ajsa has a background in Youth Work and Applied Conflict Transformation studied at detached programs of Jonkoping University, Sweden and Nansen Academy, Norway in cooperation with Novi Sad University. She speaks South Slavic languages and English. She was born in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, in the province of Kosovo, to cosmopolitan parents who raised her in different parts of Yugoslavia, although they originally hail from Montenegro, where she now lives with her family.



Joerg has followed democratic developments in Europe, and especially its East, for over three decades. His initial academic interest soon gave way to a more practical pursuit, centered around how best to build and defend civil society and democracy in the long run. He does so through Transatlantic Trusts, a set of long-term support programs for civil society in Central and Eastern Europe that are managed by the German Marshall Fund of the United States. With a long-standing interest in youth political participation and civil society as contributors to democratic development, Joerg has been a regular contributor to and partner in Frankly Speaking’s projects since its inception. He has published widely on democracy, civil society, and Central and Eastern European affairs, authored several books, and contributes regularly to international media. Joerg holds a PhD in social and political sciences from the European University Institute in Florence, after studies in Germany, Poland and Hungary specializing in Eastern European affairs. He lives and works in Berlin, Germany. 



Yael was Frankly Speaking’s principal project officer until 2019, when she took on an exciting new position at Open Society Foundations, which had just moved to Berlin. She created Frankly Speaking in 2005 after working as an educational advisor at the Council of Europe’s European Youth Centre in Strasbourg. In that role, she had responsibility for the development and implementation of the then Directorate of Youth and Sport’s educational programme and youth policy activities. She gained experience in European cooperation in the field of youth and became familiar with the civic sectors in many countries across Europe, especially those of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. Much of her work during this time focused on youth facing specific challenges including racism, disadvantage and discrimination, especially those coming from variety of minority backgrounds, and Frankly Speaking was created to further those agendas. Yael further broadened the scope of Frankly Speaking’s work to include evaluation, research, policy development and the facilitation of the strategic processes in the youth and civic sectors in Europe and globally. Yael’s educational background includes Political Science, European Studies, Human Resources Development and Modern Languages. She studied at Central European University in Budapest, the College of Europe at Bruges and Trinity College in Dublin. She has lived all over, including Israel (where she was born), Ireland (where she grew up), Belgium, France, Hungary, Slovakia and Ukraine (where she studied and worked) and Germany, where she currently resides with her family.