The EUFASA Research Department (ERD)

The EUFASA Research Department (ERD) serves as a hub for scholars and practitioners with an interest in research on the partners and family members of foreign service employees. It aims to foster discussions, research collaborations and the sharing of information. ERD research follows high academic standards including an honest pursuit of knowledge, correct use of research methods and respect for confidentiality in all research involving individuals.

ERD Network of Researchers

Jarka Devine Mildorf

Jarka is a researcher with an academic background in gender studies and public policy. Her research focuses on gender equality management, work and care, high mobility and diplomacy. She has conducted research on the main issues faced by diplomatic partners in Europe, including employment, pension rights and mental health. She is a certified gender auditor and conducts audits of employers in the private and public sector.

Melissa Woods Nelson

Melissa worked in maternal and child health research and programs in Vietnam, India, Ethiopia, and Egypt, and in the pharmaceutical industry in Switzerland for several years. She later conducted a study of diplomatic partners’ interests in employment for the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, and built up and tested measures of employment support for partners. She is also active in mental health, disability and special needs issues.

Karen Winnie Larsen

Karen is a Danish economist with a research background in behavioural and experimental economics. She is a co-founder of Thagaconnect, a professional network of expat consultants with around 400 members in Africa and Asia. She has worked as an economist for the Irish and Danish governments, for NGOs, and in the private sector. She has been lobbying for pension rights and access to information for diplomatic partners in Ireland.

Linn Eleanor Zhang

Dr Ling Eleanor Zhang is Associate Professor in Management at ESCP Business School. Her expertise covers a wide range of topics in cross-cultural management, such as global mobility, multiculturalism, language in international business, and workplace diversity and inclusion. Ling’s research contributes to a deeper understanding of people management in organisations. Specifically, she researches migrants, business and governmental expatriates from a language, identiy, gender, and geopolitical lens. Ling has published her research widely in top academic journals such as Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of World Business and Gender, Work & Organization. She also disseminates her research findings in both academic and commercial book format for more social impact. For example, she has recently edited an anthology entitled Spouses of the World: Bullet Dodging Behind Diplomatic Glamour, which explores the challenges and experiences that diplomatic spouses encounter on diplomatic assignments.

Valentina Marino-Melán

Valentina is a medical doctor from Vienna who has experienced many clinical settings around the world, in countries such as Ghana, Italy, Germany, the US and Austria and now Germany, where she currently practices as pediatric resident. She has research experience especially in the field of neonatal health and holds an MSc in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Valentina also worked in the innovation and business development field in New York. She is keen to contribute her expertise for data-driven information and support for partners and family members of foreign service employees.

Svala Guðmundsdóttir

Svala is a professor at the University of Iceland School of Business. She has served as the vice head of faculty and acting chairman for the Business Research Institute and the MBA program. Her research focuses on cross-cultural studies including human resources and she is also a country collaborator for the GLOBE2020 research network. For the past 12 years, she has been teaching Change Management, Human Resources and International Management. She has served as a consultant for international companies and is the owner of One Global Consulting (OGC) that provides relocation and consulting services to global companies.

Isabelle Haumesser

Isabelle is a French Foreign Language and English teacher who specialized in expatriation. After a career in the automotive industry, she is now pursuing her new path in Applied Linguistics teaching and research. Her areas of interest are multilingualism, language acquisition and third-culture children. Isabelle is an active board member of the Diplomatic Partners Association in Luxembourg. She contributes to the EUFASA Research Department on topics including dual-career income and foreign-born partners.

Pascale Carret

Pascale is a French medical doctor specialized in pediatric anesthesiology. She works at the Hopital Necker Enfants Malades in Paris with maxillofacial patients and she also teaches communication and basic hypnosis conversation techniques for children. In her research she focuses on children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

Francesca Bonechi

Francesca is a social psychologist and researcher with a focus on employment and social policies in Europe. She obtained a PhD at the University Complutense of Madrid in 2015. Her research work is oriented to understand the variables that underpin individuals’ well-being and to comprehend if public policies enable people to develop themselves according to their needs or rather trigger a state of vulnerability. At the moment she is applying this specific approach to the study of the situation of diplomatic partners. She has also worked for one of the agencies of the Tuscany Government in the field of health at work policies, developing research, training and consultancy in hospitals. Finally she is also a psychotherapist and has been working with expats, also in collaboration with the German Ministry of Foreign Affair Family Association.