Maria Kurinna

Maria Kurinna

associated expert


Studied at the Faculty of Foreign Languages of Taras Shevchenko National University of Luhansk. Master of Arts in Philology, English and Japanese translator. Taught Japanese and English at her alma mater and Borys Hrinchenko Kyiv University.

Became interested in human rights activities while teaching at the university, participating in the protection of the rights of students from Africa who were attacked in 2011.

In 2012-2013, studied at Japanese Language Institute in Urawa, Japan, receiving a scholarship from the Government of Japan.

In 2014, had to move to Kyiv due to threats for her pro-Ukrainian activities in native Luhansk.

Worked at NGOs that provided humanitarian and legal assistance to the population affected by hostilities. Worked in the field of cooperation and advocacy with international partners. During humanitarian trips along the contact line, held workshops on Japanese calligraphy for local children.

In 2016, participated in the Let my people go advocacy campaign at the international European Forum Alpbach, drawing attention to political prisoners from Crimea held by the Russian Federation.

In 2017, studied at Malmö University, Sweden. Course for young professionals “Sustainability of public administration and human rights”.

Worked as a consul at the Embassy of Ukraine in Japan, also paying attention to strong cooperation with Japanese human rights defenders, feminist activists, prevention of crimes against citizens of Ukraine, public and cultural diplomacy, advocacy on the issue of illegal detention of political prisoners in the Russian Federation.

As a representative of Ukrainian civil society, participated in the work of the UN Committee on Human Rights, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, in the Council of Europe.

Worked as a coordinator of a hub for organizational development for local women’s and feminist organizations, as a hotline coordinator for women during the COVID-19 epidemic.

Professional interest areas: fight against inequality and discrimination, gender and feminist studies, rights of refugees and IDPs, peace and security, cultural diplomacy, advocacy.

Hobbies: translating fiction from and into Japanese (the latest translation, Sheep and the Wolf, was presented at Book Arsenal Festival 2021), 弓道 – kyudo, Japanese archery, Japanese calligraphy, traveling to historical places and archaeological excavation sites, blogging about everyday life in Japan, listening to jazz and classical vinyl records, learning the history of ancient civilizations, drinking coffee and matcha, learning Spanish.