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SAIA: goodbye Katarina, welcome Michal

There has been an important change at the helm of Slovak ACA member SAIA. On 1 May, Michal Fedak succeeded Katarina Kostalova as the Executive Director of the organisation.

Michal Fedak joined SAIA already in 2004 and, after a steady rise in the organisation, has until April 2019 been one of the two Deputy Directors of SAIA. Not only does Michal know SAIA and each of its programmes inside-out. He has also been actively involved in the creation of the present Slovak Higher Education Act and he has been - and still is - a member on many high-level policy committees on higher education and research in Slovakia. A strong policy maker and at the same time a very practical programme specialist, this man with a superb sense of humour has all the qualities to steer SAIA into a successful future.  We wish Michal success and luck.

His starting conditions are ideal and can be summed up in two words: Katarina Kostalova. The past Executive Director has turned SAIA into what it is today - a reference for internationalisation agencies in Europe. Katarina was already involved in SAIA when it was founded 29 year ago in 1990. Joining SAIA full time in 2002, she became its Executive Director in 1998. During her ‘reign’, the fledgling organisation that SAIA originally was saw a steady growth of its programme portfolio. Notably, she strengthened SAIA’s role in European research cooperation. Katarina was also a very strong supporter of ACA, on whose Board (Administrative Council) she served for two terms between 2012 and 2015. For many, it is unthinkable to imagine SAIA without Katarina. Those need not worry: she will remain in the service of SAIA as an Advisor – obviously with a much reduced workload. We would like to thank Katarina very warmly and we look forward to staying in touch with this great internationalist and wonderful woman.

Last but not at all least, Karla Zimanová, next to Michal one of the two Deputy Directors of SAIA, will continue in her position. But from this month on, she is the only Deputy Director of SAIA.