WEBINAR SPEAKERS – Democratic Action of Refugees in Europe – Enhancing the Participation of First-Time Voters with Refugee Background in the European Parliament Elections

The Human Rights Cities Network is proud to present the first activity as part of our Democratic Action of Refugees in Europe (DARE) project!





Kelsey Beltz, The role of the European Parliament, Head of Good Partnerships, The Good Lobby

Kelsey leads the education work for The Good Lobby. She coordinates between the offices in Brussels, Paris, Milan and Madrid and is particularly involved in designing and delivering programmes such as The Good Lobby Climate Incubator, The Good Lobby EU Masterclass, and advocacy workshops.

Prior to joining The Good Lobby, she worked at OECD Development Centre and NYU School of Law, as well as multiple NGOs working on migration issues in Paris, Boston, and New York, bringing more than 5 years of experience supporting unaccompanied minors.

She holds a Master of Public Policy from Sciences Po Paris and a Master of Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School at Tufts University.


Dr. Martina Barker-Ciganikova, EU elections, how to vote, where to find more informationElection Adviser, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights ODIHR

Dr. Martina Barker-Ciganikova works as Election Adviser at the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) since March 2021. Martina has an academic background and prior to joining ODIHR, she has spent more than 15 years teaching and conducting research at the University of Vienna, Austria in the field of governance and democratization.

Since 2008, she has observed elections with various international organizations, including the EU, UN and ODIHR in different capacities.

The ODIHR deployed a special election assessment mission for the June 2024 European Parliament elections and Martina is the election adviser responsible for the mission.


Lefteris Papagiannakis, Director of the Greek Council of Refugees

Lefteris Papagiannakis was born in France in 1971. He studied public law in the University of Lille II and holds an MA in European Community Law and International Economy. He worked in the European Parliament as a parliamentary assistant, on the education of children of the Muslim minority in Greece, as a legal counselor for the political party Ecologists Green and the Special Secretariat on environmental inspection. He was elected in the municipal council of Athens in 9/2014 and named Vice Mayor on Migrant and Refugee Affairs 3/2016-8/2019.


He was Chair of the working group Migration and Integration of the Eurocities Network, Vice President for Refugee Issues of ECCAR (European Coalition of Cities against Racism) and president of the Council for the Integration of Migrants of the Municipality of Athens. He is a member of the board of the Hellenic League of Human Rights. He currently is the Director of the Greek Council for Refugees.




Mrs. Margarita Spasova, Acting Director of the Human Rights Cities Network

Margarita Spasovais the Acting Director of Human Rights Cities Network. She has worked in the civil society sector for almost 10 years. Her academic background is in European Union law andinternational migration and professionally she has focused on topics connected to human rights, migration, gender equality and democratic participation.Her experience spans from training and project management to research and advocacy.In the last few years, she has worked extensively on monitoring women’s and youth participation in elections and on researching good practices for enhancing political representation.


The webinar will address the importance of making the voices of first-time voters with refugee background heard in the upcoming European Elections.

Voting Rights are Human Rights ! 



The Democratic Action of Refugees in Europe (DARE) project:

The main goal of the project is to promote the participation of first time voters with refugee background in the upcoming European Parliament Elections, and to sustain their democratic engagement at local level beyond the 2024 EU Elections.

Our main objectives are:

  1. To raise awareness among first time voters with refugee background about the EU elections why they should vote and how they can do it
  2. To develop skills among community leaders and multipliers with refugee background to advocate from the democratic participation with and for their communities
  3. To increase the capacity on a local level to monitor participation of former refugees throughout the electoral cycle.


Supported by alda* – European Association for Local Democracy and co-funded by the European Union

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