2017 BFTF Fellows

Meet the 2017 Fellows

European Fellows

Marvi SulaAlbania                                  Marvi

This technophile is burgeoning global citizen. We are sure that Marvi will be revolutionizing the internet very soon.



Henrik SahakyanArmenia                                Henrik

Henrik knows how to market. Those skills will certainly come in handy as he takes his European Youth Parliament experience to leading the youth of Armenia.


Lisney FernandoAustria                                  Lisney

Lisney always gets an early START on the day, waking up at 4:30 in the morning. We’re sure that her and her roommates will definitely be on time each morning.


Mehemmed HaciyevAzerbaijan                            Mahammad

This future engineer in alternative energy production will also help build bridges between the US and Azerbaijan. That’ll be one long bridge!


Diana GolubitskayaBelarus                                 Dziyana

Don’t let the picture fool you. Be wary of getting into an argument with Dziyana, she is a vocal leader in her Debate Club. But as an active member in her community, we are sure she argues for the right side.


Marie MuntenBelgium                                 Marie

This future neurosurgeon can really pick your brain. When Marie is not making award winning videos, she is helping to teach kids how to swim.


Selma ZukicBosnia & Herzegovina        Selma

Look out youth of BiH! Selma is going to learn some mad skills at BFTF to help her lead her community in change.



David IvanovBulgaria                                David

David is sure to fit in at the BFTF. His love of politics and international affairs will definitely be shared by 54 other Fellows. We are sure he will use his exceptional photography skills to document the experience.


Ema SabljakCroatia                                   Ema

The future of journalism is strong in Croatia. This skilled debater and warrior for the free press believes it important to “tell the world, inform the youth.”


Gervaise SavviasCyprus                                  Gervaise

Gervaise is a Model UN extraordinaire. Skilled in leadership with the political acumen to get things done. We are sure that after the Ben, Cyprus will never be the same.


Michael MitrasCzech Republic                    Michael

If you have an IT problem, Michael is your man. And when he is not messing with computer keys, Michael is tickling piano keys. We’re hoping Michael will share those talents with us. After he’s done with his work out, of course.


Almin OdzakovicDenmark                              Almin

The UN could save money on translators if they just hire Almin. He knows 9 languages! Our guess is that he speaks fluent Klingon and Elvish, as well. But he’s just being modest.


Eva LennukEstonia                                  Eva

How many Fellows can say they have been on national TV? Well, we know of one. All of Estonia knows Eva, and when we need an emcee for our events, we know who to contact.


Arina MashineFinland                                  Arina

Interests in biochemical engineering, E. Coli, Carbon Catabolite Repression!? And she participates in Model UN, ICJ, and conference planning!? Her future is so bright, she has to wear shades. Arina is definitely a machine.


Valentine BremardFrance                                  Valentine

Sacre bleu! Valentine spends a lot of time studying free speech, democracy, and economic growth. The Ben sounds like a perfect home for her.


Inna UtmelidzeGeorgia                                Inna

Ina’s home town has more letters than the English alphabet. We are looking forward to hearing her pronounce it. Guess that is why she is so good as spelling bees.


Mahlet TadesseGermany                              Mahlet

Historically, the health of a democracy was measured by free and public discourse in salons. Be sure to ask Mahlet about the “Political Salon” she runs, keeping students engaged with local politicians and business leaders.


Spyros BaziosGreece                                  Spyros

Hailing from one of the many Greek Isles (the picture gives it away), Spyridon is a lover of technology, economics, and diplomacy. The perfect ingredients for one heck of a social entrepreneur.


Bogi FodorHungary                               Boglarka

This tenacious Hungarian is an active member in her community and with AFS students. Boglarka is sure to be an exceptional fundraiser who will definitely use the skills she learns at the BFTF to make the world a better place.


Asthildur KjeruifIceland                                Ásthildur

The charity events in Iceland must be so well-organized. Why? It’s most likely that Ásthildur planned them, communicating with all the volunteers in one of her many languages.


Robin DukeIreland                               Robin

Our first ever fellow from Ireland! We’re so excited to hear about Robin’s exploits with Foróige. She might even do a speech about it; we know she has the skills to wow her audience.


Valeria TedoneItaly                                    Valeria

Valeria is no heel. She has a passion for physics and computers. Our guess is that she is likely to develop a new Android platform, unless Apple hires her first.


Arta IsmajliKosovo                               Arta

Fighting for empowerment, Arta is an exceptional mentor for Kosovo’s youth. Her penchant for tutoring and leadership are definitely within the wheelhouse of the Ben.


Kristiana KalninaLatvia                                  Kristiana

When she is not swimming, this triathlete is more than happy to talk about her experience in entrepreneurship. Kristiana is committed to improving an educational environment for local youth. Perhaps there is a business opportunity out there.


Gintare PetreikyteLithuania                             Gintare

The BFTF is a pretty intense experience, so we are sure we can use a “Chill Zone.” We’ll call upon this future teacher to help develop this space for working together. We just hope Gintare doesn’t require us to all wear badges.


Lara BertemesLuxembourg                       Lara

Lara must be looking forward to the debate class. Be careful fellow Fellows; she knows how to argue in the classroom, the football pitch, and the stage. Hopefully, she will share her poetry and guitar skills with us.


Benjamin DalliMalta                                     Benjamin

We found a picture of Benjamin in his natural element. This National Youth Parliamentarian is a leader in passing legislation. We are sure Mayor Benjamin’s pursuit of law and international affairs will lead to him passing even more legislation.


Mihaela CausMoldova                               Mihaela

Mihaela, a burgeoning sociologist, is a dedicated activist in combating discrimination of all types. Her commitment to fighting the good fight has earned her a great deal of respect from her community.


Kristina MarkovicMontenegro                        Kristina

When Kristina is not tutoring children in English, she is leading her school’s Student Parliament. These skills will serve her well as she pursues a degree in law.


Oliver HubarNetherlands                       Oliver

This future International Business student at Maastricht University has a love of learning about other cultures (especially the foods of Italy, we assume). We are sure he will learn about many different global perspectives while at the Ben.


Nariman HameNorway                               Nariman

Nariman is political active and wants to study law. This sounds like a dangerous combination in her commitment to improving community dialogue. The picture background says it all.


Julia KuzdzaiPoland                                 Julia

In the long tradition of Polish Fellows, Julia really knows America. If you are interested in any aspect of American trivia, ask Julia. She likely knows more about the US than us!


Ana la FeriaPortugal                              Ana

With interests ranging from math to philosophy, Ana can connect with almost anyone. Her pursuit of learning Bulgarian is only evidence of that commitment. When she is not by the sea, Ana passes the time swimming or refereeing.


Mihai PeiaRomania                             Mihai-Petre

Mihai-Petre is truly well-balanced, his interests are rooted in ecology. Wake Forest could certainly use more trees, perhaps we can get Mihai-Petre to use his tree planting skills to help us out.


Oleg LapityRussia                                   Oleg

Every year, there is a contest as to who travels the furthest to the Ben. Oleg definitely has a strong case. He will have time to think about ways we can break down cultural stereotypes. We think the hat is a step in the right direction.


Dunja PavlovicSerbia                                   Dunja

Like Benjamin Franklin, Dunja’s interests vary far and wide. From medicine to history to music, Dunja is a modern day renaissance woman. She uses her talents to tackle a variety of community issues.


Lenka VolkovaSlovak Republic                   Lenka

This entrepreneurial and innovative Slovakian native knows how to jump start an economy. Maybe we can get Lenka to teach us about how to create an effective startup.


Vanja KolnovicSlovenia                                 Vanja

Maybe it is something in the water, but the Slovenian fellows always seems to be a dancer. Vanja keeps up the tradition. We are hoping she waltzes onto the stage to share her talents.


IgnacioSpain                                     Ignacio

Ignacio knows the value of the freedom of expression, just ask. Beyond his interest in open discussion, he is an ardent ecologist and social media lover. Ignacio does not seem to have any pictures of him on the internet. This is the only picture that shows up under his name.

Evan ConstantinSwitzerland                         Evan

Hailing from the French speaking part of Switzerland, this future diplomat is a lover of geopolitics. Evan is going to need those passions as he attempts to promote peace in the Middle East.


Eyyup TasciTurkey                                   Eyyup

A lover of both the arts and sciences, Eyyup is the ultimate team player. His hardworking, passionate, and engaging.



Anna KramarenkoUkraine                                 Anna

This Kharkiv National University student is pursuing an education in English/Chinese translations. Anna truly embraces the international experience! She even dances on bridges.


Iram FarooquiUnited Kingdom                   Iram

There are many BFTF Fellows that are talented in Debate. But Iram tops them all; she has the trophies to prove it.



U.S. Fellows

Jode SparksAlaska                                 Jode

Two years in a row a fellow from Alaska! But no one keeps Jode in a basket. His experience working on Capitol Hill steels him for the rough and tumble world of politics.


Brooklyn MontgomeryArizona                               Brooklyn

Hailing from the great Southwest, this desert delegate knows her history. Brooklyn rocks the world of American history. We would definitely want her on our trivia team.


Leshawn BowenArizona                              Leshawn

We predict the following sentence to be uttered in 2036: “From the great Grand Canyon State, President Leshawn”. He’s off to a good start by winning student body president. He is already appealing to the patriotic element of the electorate.


Raphaella TrevilArizona                                Raphaella

Greatness comes in three! Also from the Grand Canyon State is yet another wonder. Raphaella is a talented musician and organizing. When she is not running Sock N’ Go, she is delivering TED talks.


Madhu GarimellaKentucky                              Madhu

This dominating debater from the Bluegrass State is an ardent environmentalist. There is no hot air when Madhu cooly argues for improving our environment. Girl-up!


Emily FickerNorth Carolina                     Emily

Are you looking for someone to run your next campaign? Then you better talk to Emily. After she runs Leshawn’s successful 2036 campaign, we’re sure she’ll get her choice of Ambassadorship in Europe.


Farah AlsukaitaNorth Carolina                     Farah

Like Ignacio, Farah does not have much of a presence on the internet. But she is definitely present in her community as a volunteer for promoting childhood education. Unlike Ignacio, she seems to be maintain a youthful appearance. They grow up so fast!


Lillian GilesNorth Carolina                      Lillian

This world traveler has already climbed many steps. Lillian is an athlete, thespian, scholar, and lover of languages. We believe she will pick up at least three more languages during her time at the Ben.


Raghad Al AhmedNorth Carolina                       Raghad

When she is not getting henna tattoos, Raghad is cracking jokes. Every Ben has a comedian, and that sense of humor will come in handy on long bus rides to Philadelphia.


Cheyenne LivingstonePennsylvania                         Cheyenne

Speaking of Philadelphia, this dapper dancer knows what to do with a good beat. Cheyenne is in more dance clubs and organizations than we can count. We’re hoping she finds a way to the stage at this year’s talent show.


Mariam KhayataTennessee                              Mariam

Mighty Mariam from Memphis is a dedicating member of her community. When she is not marching for equal rights, Mariam is combatting prejudice through countless organizations. Sounds like Ben material.