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

Linn is a Senior Lecturer (eqv. Associate Professor) at Loughborough University, the UK, and Researcher at Hanken School of Economics, Finland. Her research focuses on expatriates, migrants and global workers from the perspective of gender, language, and identity. She has published her research in both academic and commercial book formats. Her research articles have been published in academic journals such as Gender, Work & Organization, the Journal of World Business and International Business Review; and more recently she edited an anthology entitled Spouses of the World: Bullet Dodging Behind Diplomatic Glamour, which explores the challenges and experiences, both personal and functional, that diplomatic spouses encounter on diplomatic assignments. Linn is currently working on a research project on the theme of “Gender and identity in a turbulent space and time, funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grants programme.

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.