Dr. Rita Columbia, UNFPA Representative in the Republic of Moldova  

Dr. Rita Columbia has 20 years of experience in the area of health, population and development, programme management and advocacy, working in government, non-governmental sector and UNFPA. She began her professional career as a medical doctor. In 1997, she joined Pathfinder International as a head of the country programme in Kazakhstan. A few years later she became a national programme officer for UNFPA in Kazakhstan and then moved to an international position as a programme manager in IPPF European Network, supporting 39 Member Associations of IPPF in Europe and Central Asia. She also worked as Director of Programme and Partner Services at the International Youth Foundation supporting 200 partner organizations around the world. In 2009, she returned to UNFPA as Regional Programme Adviser on SRH for Eastern Europe and Central Asia and later on joined the UNFPA Supplies team in New York. Dr. Rita Columbia holds a medical degree from Almaty State Medical University, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Kazakhstan Institute of Economy, Management and Planning, and a Master’s degree in Management from New York University.

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Natalia Plugaru, UNFPA Moldova Assistant Representative
Natalia has over ten years of experience in development work contributing to the empowerment of women and young people. Since 2011, Natalia managed the Reproductive Health and Youth component of the UNFPA Moldova Country Programme. Prior to joining UNFPA, Natalia has served the National Youth Council of Moldova, starting as a board member and later becoming the organization’s vice-president. Natalia has extensive experience in advocating for and mainstreaming youth issues into the public policy agenda at the national and European level. In addition, Natalia has worked in civil society in assisting victims of domestic violence and human trafficking, and she has lectured Management at the Balti State University in Moldova. Natalia holds a PhD in Management from the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest, Romania and a Master of Public Management from the Academy of Public Administration in Chisinau, Moldova. At UNFPA Natalia is leading the programme team in the country office being responsible for UNFPA’s work in the areas of population and development, reproductive health, gender and youth.
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Eugenia Berzan, Programme Analyst on Reproductive Health and Youth

Before joining UNFPA Moldova team, Eugenia worked for more than 7 years at the Ministry of Health, as head of Foreign Relations and European Integration Department, her portfolio being focused on Health Diplomacy, Protocol, Development Cooperation/ Official Development Assistance and European Integration. Eugenia also worked at the School of Management in Public Health and the National Centre for Health Management from Chisinau, being instrumental in the process of National Health Policy development, as well as the development of health monitoring reports. She graduated the Chisinau State Medical and Pharmaceutical University “Nicolae Testemitanu”, being specialized in Family Medicine and holds a postgraduate Master degree in Public Health, from Hadassah Hebrew University School of Public Health and Community Medicine from Jerusalem, Israel.
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Eduard Mihalaş, Program Analyst Population and Development and Gender

Eduard joined UNFPA Moldova after 10 years of leadership experience in civil society. He coordinated the process of drafting the Law on Volunteering, acting as the Executive Director of the Association "Youth for Right to Live". He was elected as member of the Bureau of the National Youth Council of Moldova (2009) and later as the Chairman (2011) of the Board. In his capacity as Chairman, Eduard launched several initiatives that provided innovative approach to the youth sector, specifically on the monitoring of local government budgets, institutional development of youth organizations, on the new policy framework in the youth sector and on the cooperation in the Black Sea region. At the European level, Eduard coordinated the Group 4 "People to people Contacts" of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, which launched a new mechanism to involve youth in this forum. At UNFPA, Eduard is responsible for the areas of Population and Development and Gender.

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Cristian Ziliberberg, Project Officer

Since 1999, Cristian developed civic society in Moldova directly by training future leaders, entrepreneurs and public servants within a leadership development program and through civic engagement. He trained future Peace Corps volunteers as a Cross-Cultural Coordinator, managed a project to include Health Education within Romanian School, served as a Supervisory Group member for AIESEC Moldova, and founded MediaPoint, declared one of the most active youth organizations in Moldova, which promotes social innovation through new media. Starting with 2010 he dedicated himself to research and academia. Besides, he extensively traveled around India, Nepal and South East Asia. Cristian has a master’s degree in Organizational and Economic Psychology from University of Bucharest (Romania), and an MSc in Management and Organizations and Sociology from Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University (USA).

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Victoria Dochițcu, Programme Associate on Reproductive Health and Youth
Victoria brought to UNFPA Moldova over 12 years of experience in NGO sector. She worked for leading NGO International Center for Women Rights Protection and Promotion Center “La Strada”, specialized on preventing human trafficking and informing population about safe migration, preventing domestic violence, commercial sexual exploitation of children and promoting of the child safety on the Internet. Working as Manager of the different projects in the related above issues, she also supported the implementation of the State Agreement between Republic of Moldova and State of Israel (relates to employment opportunities for vulnerable groups). Victoria graduated the State Pedagogical University of Moldova, Psychology Department and holds a Master’s degree in Management. At UNFPA Victoria is supporting the implementation, management, monitoring and evaluation of Reproductive Health/Youth component of the UNFPA Country Programme.
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Irina Lipcanu, Communication Officer

Irina joined UNFPA team as Communication Officer. She has prior experience in the UN System, working with various UN agencies on media and communications, promoting child and adolescents’ rights, inclusion and equality issues and human rights agenda. Her recent professional experience includes high-level technical advice to the Ministry of Education in promoting vocational education reform agenda as part of EU-related projects. Irina holds a Master degree in Journalism and Communication, State University of Moldova. At UNFPA Moldova, she is responsible for managing the advocacy and communication activities.
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Diana Selaru, Administrative/Finance Associate

Diana has over 13 years of progressively responsible administrative and project management experience. Before joining UNFPA in 2010, Diana worked for the United Nations Development Programme in Moldova (UNDP Moldova) within several Projects performing a variety of specialized activities related to financial administration and procurement management, Human Resources and knowledge sharing to newly employed project assistants. Diana holds a Master’s degree in Financial and Banking Administration. At UNFPA she is in charge of operations, including finance, procurement, human resources, security, UN common services and premises, programme and office management.
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Alexandru Rusu, Administrative Associate

Alexandru has 10 years of experience in administrative assistance/interpretation, having worked for various projects (EU/US Embassy/UNDP/IOM). Before joining UNFPA, he worked for EUBAM in Field Office Otaci as Administrative Assistant/ Interpreter for almost 6 years. Alexandru holds a Bachelor degree in Philology and a Master degree in Economic Sciences. At UNFPA Alexandru is responsible for travel arrangements, human resources, procurement, financial and asset management, logistics and general administrative tasks.

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Ruslan Bojoc, Driver / Messenger

Ruslan graduated from the Transport College from Chisinau and the Technical University of Moldova. Ruslan has extensive work experience as driver. Before joining the UNFPA team, he worked at UNDP.