Maria Kurinna

Maria Kurinna

international advocacy officer


Maria Kurinna studied in Luhansk Taras Shevchenko National University. Maria has MA degree in translation and philology of the English and the Japanese language. She taught Japanese and English in her alma mater and in Kyiv Borys Hrinchenko University.

Maria took a deep interest in human rights defense while teaching in university. She participated in the campaign of protection of the rights of African students who had been attacked in 2011.

In 2012-2013 Maria studied in Japanese Language Institute, Urawa, Japan, obtaining a long-term scholarship from the Government of Japan.

In 2014 Maria received repeated threats due to pro-Ukrainian activist activity in her hometown Luhansk. She had to relocate to Kyiv.

Maria worked in NGOs that provided humanitarian and legal aid to CAP and IDPs. During humanitarian missions to settlements located close to contact line Maria gave workshops of Japanese calligraphy to local children.

In 2016 Maria took part in advocacy campaigns at the European Forum Alpbach, Austria. She drew attention to political prisoners detained by the Russian Federation.

In 2017 Maria took a course of sustainable public administration and human rights for young professionals in the University of Malmo, Sweden.

Maria was a head of the consular department in the Embassy of Ukraine in Japan, Tokyo. In her position she paid attention to establishing tight partnership with Japanese human rights defenders, feminist activists, international organizations. She arranged work on prevention of violence against women, the citizens of Ukraine. Maria worked in the sphere of public and cultural diplomacy, as well. She advocated for Ukrainian political prisoners of the occupying power of the RF.

As a representative of civil society of Ukraine Maria participated in the work of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Human Rights Committee, CEDAW, the Council of Europe.

She worked as a coordinator of capacity building hub for grass-roots women’s, feminist and youth organizations, and as a coordinator of a helpline for women during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Areas of professional interest: combating inequality and discrimination, gender studies and feminism, the rights of refugees, IDPs, peace and security, cultural diplomacy, advocacy.

In her free time, Maria translates from and into Japanese. The latest translation of the book “Sheep and Wolf” was presented at the Book Arsenal 2021. She enjoys 弓 道 – kyudo, Japanese archery and calligraphy, travel to historical sites and archeological excavations. Maria has a blog about life in Japan. She loves listening to jazz and classical vinyl records, the history of ancient civilizations, coffee and matcha. She learns Spanish.