Executive Board


Franci Demšar, NAKVIS (Slovenia)

Born in 1960, graduated in Physics at the University of Ljubljana, Master of Biophysics at the University of Zagreb and PhD in Physics at the University of Ljubljana in 1987. During his professional career, he has worked as a researcher (scientific councillor) and higher education teacher (full professor) as well as manager. In his 17-year managerial career, he worked as State Secretary at the Ministry of Science and Technology, Minister of Defence, Ambassador to the Russian Federation, and the Director of the Slovenian Research Agency. As regards his international experience, he was vice-president of the European Science Foundation and a member of the International Academy of Engineers.

Vice President

Vesna Dodiković-Jurković, ASHE (Croatia)

Vesna Dodiković-Jurković is the Deputy Director of the Croatian Agency for Science and Higher Education, a quality assurance expert and an ISO 9001 lead auditor. Previously, she worked at the University of Zagreb and the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sports – Directorate for Science. Vesna holds a PhD in biology from the University of Zagreb. She is the author of a number of papers and conference presentations in the field of quality assurance, and a contributor to the development of the ASHE audit model. She has been a panel member in a number of audits in Croatia and abroad.

She has long supported the dissemination of good practice and the promotion of a quality culture among HEIs at the national level, and has also initiated the establishment of the National Network of Quality Assurance Units at HEIs (CroQAnet) – a platform for the dissemination of good practice and quality culture among HEIs. At ASHE she has headed the introduction and continued use of a QA system which is in line with the ESG, as well as the implementation of EN ISO 9001:2000, EN ISO 9001:2008 and EN ISO 9001:20015. In her managing position she has continuously fostered cooperation with other European and international agencies and networks responsible for external evaluation processes in the higher education sector.

Executive Board Members

Simona Lache, ARACIS (Romania)

Simona Lache is director of the Accreditation Department of the Romanian Agency of Quality assurance in Higher Education (ARACIS) and professor at Transilvania University of Brasov, Romania. Since 2008 she holds the position of vice-rector for quality evaluation and, since 2012, also for internationalization. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Precision Mechanics, a European Master in Energy Management and Mechanical Engineering and a Doctoral degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Simona has an extensive expertise in quality assurance of higher education, for instance as an international reviewer (IEP-EUA, ENQA, FINEEC), as member of the Steering Committee of IEP- EUA (since 2019) and member of the Label Committee of ENAEE (since 2015). Simona works with ARACIS as expert evaluator since 2007 and holds the position of executive board member since 2015. She was involved as quality assurance expert/ project manager in several projects dealing with the development, implementation, and external evaluation of HE system, the development of different policies and methodologies in the field of QA of HE, as well as to develop transnational cooperation between universities and enterprises, fostering entrepreneurship, open innovation, etc.

Benjamin Muhamedbegović, HEA (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Benjamin Muhamedbegović is an Assistant Director for Quality Assurance in the Agency for Development of Higher Education and Quality Assurance Bosnia and Herzegovina (HEA BiH) since 2009. He has 17 years’ experience in the area of higher education reforms in B&H. From 2004 to 2009 he was a Senior Officer for licensing of higher education institution in the Ministry of Education and Culture of RS. Last 12 years he was involved in a number of projects related to the QA, and in creating a documents and procedures for QA system in B&H which is a very complex due to constitution of the State. He is also a president of The Committee for quality assurance of the Agency, a permanent body of the Agency, with a task to conduct activities of internal quality assurance of the Agency and designing the Agency’s SAR annually in accordance with the II and III ESG groups.

Muhamedbegovic has a PhD in a food science and technology and is involved in teaching processes at the University of Tuzla as professor of Food packaging. Previously he worked in a food industry. Besides the area of quality assurance in higher education, he is involved in the process of HACCP (and halal) certification in food industry as a consultant and auditor.

Péter Levente Lakatos, MAB (Hungary)

Dr. Péter Levente Lakatos is a jurist and economist in the field of quality assurance of higher education and higher education policy. He is the Director of International Affairs of the Hungarian Accreditation Committee. Péter is a higher education expert in quality assurance-related projects both at the national and international level. He is a former and current member of several review teams for institutional and program-level evaluations in Hungary and abroad. He is also the author of numerous higher education-related articles and actively participates in the work of international higher education organizations.

Dinçay Köksal, EPDAD (Turkey)

Dinçay Köksal graduated from Ondokuz Mayıs University and Gazi University (M.A. & PhD) in English language education. He has worked as a school teacher and university lecturer and since 1995 he has been a professor at Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University. There, he founded the Center for Foreign Language Education and Research in 1996, the Educational Research Association in Turkey in 2008 and the International Association of Educational researchers in 2012. He organised many international conferences on English language education. From 2015 to 2021, he was the Dean of the Faculty of Education, Faculty of Fine Arts and since then he has been the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at his university. He has many articles published in journals and papers presented at international conferences and congresses. He is the author and editor of many books and co-author of a book on Intercultural Communication.

Diane Freiberger, FIBAA (Germany)

Diane Freiberger is the Managing Director of the international quality assurance agency FIBAA based in Germany. She has been involved in higher education for more than 25 years. She started as a lecturer at the Catholic Academy for Social Work in Munich. After that, she took a brief detour into business and was a PR manager for six years.  In 2006, she returned to the field of university management.

Before Ms. Freiberger became the Managing Direktor of FIBAA, she was Managing Director of the Business School at the University of Applied Sciences Kufstein, Austria and for the last five years she also was the Vice Rector at this university. At the Business School she gave lectures about the topic Quality Management & Process management over seven years. In the course of all these activities, she has been involved in quality assurance issues, especially in the area of digital transformation of teaching and learning. In recent years, Ms. Freiberger has been involved in national and international study projects and conferences on these topics and has published on them.

Ulkar Sattarova, TKTA (Azerbaijan)

Ulkar Sattarova is the Chairperson of the Executive Board for the Education Quality Assurance Agency in Azerbaijan (TKTA). Prior to her current role, she held the position of Advisor to the Minister of Science and Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan. With over a decade of experience in higher education management and a background as a researcher at the Institute of Control Systems of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, Ulkar Sattarova has established herself as a highly esteemed expert.

Ulkar Sattarova’s academic journey began with a B.Sc. degree in Applied Mathematics, followed by an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in ICT and system analysis. Subsequently, she pursued a joint D.Sc. program in ICT offered by the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences and the University of Montpellier. Currently, she is actively engaged in a Ph.D. program in Education Governance at Maastricht University.

Throughout her career, Ulkar Sattarova has continuously fostered cooperation with other European and international agencies actively participating in impactful projects of the field.