Current Interns

Mrs. FREDERIKE SCHMITT (22, Germany) began her CCOE internship at the Training & Education (T&E) Branch in April 2017. There, it will be her main task to support the development of CCOE’s e-learning program with a focus on the new NATO CMI Basic Training requirements. She will also handle the technical implementation of the e-learning application into the ILIAS software.

Frederike graduated in “International Emergency & Disaster Relief” (BA) in 2016. During her studies she developed interests in the topic of conflict resolution, especially in hybrid warfare and terrorism, as well as in civil-military cooperation. Consequently, she applied for an internship at the Academy for Crisis Management, Emergency Planning and Civil Protection (AKNZ) in Ahrweiler, Germany. Joining the branch for international training and civil-military cooperation at the academy, she worked for three months with both the civilian and military personnel.
Moving more towards the military aspects of international emergency and disaster relief, she decided to take a closer look at the Army, spending three months at the German Bundeswehr Operational Communications Center in Mayen, near Ahrweiler. In order to gain a deeper understanding of military and civil work in an international environment, she applied for this internship at the CCOE.

Currently Frederike is going through the application process to become an officer in the German Army. As an alternative option, she is contemplating to work in the field of conflict analysis to be able to contribute to peaceful conflict resolutions and the application of lessons learned.


All the way from Baku

Ms. Lala Mustafazade (29, Baku, Azerbaijan) began her CCOE internship at the Concepts, Inter-Operability and Capability (CIC) Branch in February 2017. She will research the role, the responsibilities and the challenges faced by NATO CIMIC in response to natural disasters. Together with the branch staff, she will develop doctrinal products elaborating on the required NATO CIMIC contribution for disaster management.

Ms. Mustafazade studied at the University of Leiden, where she obtained a Master’s Degree in ‘Crisis and Security Management’ in 2016. She wrote her thesis on the humanitarian response to natural disasters by comparing the disaster responses to the Haitian and Nepalese earthquakes. She obtained her bachelor degree in “Regional Studies” from the Western University in Azerbaijan.

Lala has prior hands-on experience in the field of crisis and disaster management. Before joining CCOE, she worked at the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Republic of Azerbaijan. In that role she developed strategies to strengthen the co-operation between the Ministry and the various international organizations, while working on international projects, aimed to enhance the national capacity for disaster preparedness and risk reduction.

She attended various programs and seminars on civil security, civil emergency planning and disaster risk reduction at the NATO School in Oberammergau (Civil Emergency Planning Course), the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies (Seminar on Transatlantic Civil Security), and at the European Union Eastern Partnership Program (England, PPRD course).


“It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices.” (J. K. Rowling)

Ms. Andrada Balan (Romania, 29) commenced with her internship at the Training & Education (T&E) Branch of the CCOE in February 2017. In that role, she will particularly support the development of the ongoing e-learning program, with focus on our new NATO CIMIC Strategic Planning Course (NCSPC). In addition, she will be active in the transfer of knowledge from the ACO (Allied Command Operations) Civil-Military Cooperation Functional Planning Guide into interactive and engaging learning experience for students.

Before joining the CCOE, Andrada entertained traineeships at Europol in The Hague (2016), and the European Commission in Brussels (2014). At Europol, she successfully handled the corporate stakeholder management and cross-departmental cooperation in the Governance Department within the Office of the Director. At the European Commission, she supported the work of the Directorate General for Communication, organizing information visits (i.e. tailored short conferences) for medium to high level groups of members of national parliaments, civil servants, journalists and students from the EU and worldwide.

She is a strong believer in the power of information and communication when used correctly and smartly, by putting effective communication at the core of all personal and business interactions and cooperation.

Having worked for a year for international consulting power house Accenture, she became accustomed to the importance of a client-oriented business culture, establishing trust beyond just contacts as the basis of lasting relationships with all stakeholders.

A dedicated historian by training, she later specialized in International Relations (IR), focusing on foreign policy, security and defence, and diplomatic-military cooperation. In latter fields, she holds a Master’s Degree in this field from the University of Bucharest (2011) and a second one in Diplomacy and IR from the Diplomatic School of Madrid (part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), in 2012.

In her free time she reads about Spanish & Latin American contemporary history and confesses to be a social media and music “addict”.


Civil-Military Cooperation Centre of Excellence

Ms MONICA DE ASTIS (23 years, Italy) has started an internship within the Public Affairs Office. Her main focus will be the general improvement of CCOE’s current website, the focal information point where CIMIC interested civilians and Militaries can meet and inform about CCOE and Civil-Military Cooperation. She will also support the Public Affairs Office in the organization of events and in other tasks.

Graduated in ‘International Studies and European Institutions’ in December 2014 at the University of Milan, with a thesis about the role of Europol against organized crime, Monica gained an internship at EUROPOL (European Law Enforcement Agency – The Hague) some months later. She worked for half a year in the Office of the Director focusing her attention on stakeholder management and cross-departmental cooperation.

In 2011 Monica started to collaborate with a local newspaper in Milan and, by working constantly on her articles, she became journalist. Besides current news, culture, local politics and economics she writes about anti-mafia and organized crime as well, both for her blog ‘Nomos&Caos’ and for specialized online magazines.

During her university career in Milan she studied ‘Sociology of Organized Crime’, subject of her final thesis and directly linked to her social activism: Monica is indeed part of the Italian anti-mafia movement, organizing and taking part to activities aimed at increasing public awareness of organized crime’s impact on society.