Maija Paasiaro

Executive Director

Maija was appointed Executive Director of the John Smith Trust in September 2020. As Executive Director, Maija is responsible for the overall strategic direction of the John Smith Trust.

Maija has been with the John Smith Trust since 2017, first as Director of the Central Asia Fellowship Programme and more recently as Director of Programmes with added responsibility for the Wider Europe Fellowship Programme. Prior to this, she worked for an international conflict prevention and peacebuilding organisation, focusing on governance, peacebuilding processes, security and civil society sector development in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Maija has extensive experience of working in and on the former Soviet Union and specialises in Central Asia. She has an MA in Modern History and Russian from the University of St Andrews and an MSc in Development Studies with special reference to Central Asia from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.