ACA Secretariat

Bernd Wächter


Bernd Wächter is ACA's Director, a position he has held since 1998. Bernd is responsible for the overall management of the Brussels-based Secretariat and is a frequently consulted expert and speaker on internationalisation issues.



Irina Ferencz

Deputy Director

Irina Ferencz (née Lungu) is Deputy Director at ACA, the organisation where she also started her professional career in the field of internationalisation of European higher education in 2008. In this capacity she supports the ACA Director in the day-to-day running of the organisation, combining research, management and representation responsibilities.



Marija Mitic

Policy Officer

Marija Mitic is Policy Officer at ACA, where she has worked since 2014. Marija’s responsibilities at ACA include a wide variety of tasks characteristic of an association and think tank such as ACA – from diverse membership-oriented activities, project and event management, policy analysis to representation of ACA in Brussels and globally. Marija’s interest and expertise lie in intercultural learning and diversity studies, EU lifelong learning and education policies, and EU’s international cooperation in higher education, especially EU-Western Balkans relations. Marija is a big fan of Brussels, where she initially came for music, but stayed for many additional reasons, including its international setting.



Queenie K.H. Lam-Schöch

Project Manager

Queenie, Project Manager of ACA, joined the ACA Secretariat in 2010. She is responsible for a mixed portfolio of project development, policy research and membership services. Within ACA, she is a specialist in international education marketing and branding, rankings, EU-China mobility and funding. 

Queenie has become a mother in late 2015 and is now residing in Germany with her family during a 2-year sabbatical leave started in mid-2016. She uses the career break also to further develop her academic interest around the “mediatization” of higher education. 



Irina Malai

Office Manager

Irina Malai joined ACA Secretariat in November 2017 to take over the position of the Office Manager. She is responsible for the internal organisation of the office and for the external communication (stakeholders and general inquiries). She is also involved in the organisation of ACA’s events in Brussels and abroad.                                                               Originally from the Republic of Moldova, Irina has been living for many years in different European countries (first Italy, then Belgium). She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Philology of Modern and Classic languages from the Moldova State University and a Master’s degree in Modern languages and literature from the Free University of Brussels (ULB). Irina is fluent in English, French, Italian and Russian, besides Romanian, her mother tongue. 



Elena Bizzi


Elena Bizzi is ACA’s Newsletter trainee and she is in charge of finding news and writing articles for the monthly ACA Newsletter Education Europe. Alongside these monitoring and editing tasks, Elena supports ACA staff in organising events and conferences and in other secretariat’s daily activities. 

Elena holds a BA degree in Intercultural Linguistic Mediation from the University of Bologna and a MA degree in European and International Studies from the University of Trento, both in Italy. She is a real fan of academic mobility and the internationalisation of higher education, having experienced herself two study exchanges abroad. She spent one year through the LLP-Erasmus at the School of International Interpreters of the University of Mons (Belgium) and one semester at the Institute of International Relations of the Pontifícia Universidade Católica of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). She also interned in the think tank BRICS Policy Center in Rio de Janeiro and in the Italian Permanent Mission to the UN in Vienna.

She wrote her MA thesis on the role of NGOs and civil society in advancing public interests and shaping international law and, before moving to ACA, she worked for supporting migrants and refugees’ integration and protection in Italy. In addition to her mother tongue, Italian, she speaks English, French, Portuguese and she’s learning Arabic. She believes that a higher education without borders is key to develop an inclusive and welcoming society.