Senta Höfer is passionate about planting and nurturing new ideas, programmes and institutions in manifold environments.
Before establishing the Global Diplomacy Lab Secretariat at the Federal Foreign Office, which she has directed since 2014 and continues to build and expand today, Senta created and managed executive training programmes for international diplomats, as well as cultural initiatives in Eastern Europe. All of these – just like the Global Diplomacy Lab – are public-private partnerships between the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs and private foundations.
Before returning to Germany in 2005 to work in international relations, Senta spent many years abroad – always in intercultural and multidisciplinary environments – be it establishing and directing the German Cultural Centre in Timişoara (Romania) or working for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in post-war Croatia. This is also where, in addition to her regular work, she co-founded an NGO fair, at a time when members of the Croatian political leadership called NGOs the “cancer of society”. The motivation for this work was not least the fact that Senta was born and grew up as a member of the German national minority in Bucharest, Romania, which was a dictatorship at the time. She was able to emigrate at the age of 17.
Once she arrived in the “free world”, Senta began to travel, live and pursue studies in journalism, German and art history in Würzburg, London, Bamberg, Antwerp and New York. Senta had the pleasure and luck to be awarded fellowships by the Robert Bosch Foundation, the Karl Gerold Foundation and Columbia University, as well as to work as a journalist for, among others, the BBC World Service, the Bavarian Broadcasting Company (BR) and Die Zeit weekly newspaper.
Senta lives with her partner and their two almost grown-up children in Berlin-Schöneberg, where she organises literary salons and loves listening to and playing music in her free time.
Sue Lyn Chong has been working with the Global Diplomacy Lab (GDL) as a project manager since October 2014. Her expertise lies in the coordination and planning of sustainable and innovative networking events all over the world. Social responsibility and supporting local change makers are part and parcel of her work. Before joining the GDL, Sue Lyn organised alumni meetings for the Training for International Diplomats programme at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. Prior to that, she completed her traineeship in Brand Communications during which she had a strong focus on identifying new trends, experiences and perspectives. Before that, she worked as a freelance project manager in the creative sector for several years, always in search of new challenges.
With both Chinese Malaysian and German roots, Sue Lyn grew up in Heidelberg between two different cultural backgrounds, laying the foundations for her work in an international environment today. In her daily life, she combines an eye for detail and respect for everyone in order to create a joint vision that generates trust and cooperation.
Sue Lyn holds an M.A. in Cultural Management and Cultural Tourism from the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder) and a B.Sc. in Economics from the Freie Universität Berlin. Her speciality lies in combining rational analytics with creativity when developing new solutions to special tasks. She strives for an environmentally friendly lifestyle and tries to be mindful of the consequences in everything she does.
With her deep-rooted curiosity about everything from politics to psychology, Corinna has studied and worked in very different fields. Whether you talk with her about advances in renewable energy sources, possibilities for using artificial neural networks in medicine or how to make the United Nations a more effective global player, she will listen closely and surely give you her opinion on the matter.
Her passion for communicating with people around the globe and from diverse backgrounds brought her to the GDL in September 2018, where she supports the growing GDL community. Corinna’s work has inspired her to dive deeper into the underlying questions of how member-driven networks can be managed. Hence, she is currently researching the subject outside of her work for the GDL Secretariat together with the Partnership Resource Center at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Corinna holds a Master’s degree in Media and Political Communication from Freie Universität Berlin.
While she loves Berlin city life, in her free time Corinna often explores nature on foot or by bike.
Philipp is a student of Sociology and Social Research at the University of Cologne and is currently working as a student assistant at the Global Diplomacy Lab. It was his desire to take part in new forms of diplomacy, specifically the exchange between state and non-state actors, which brought him here.
During his studies, he mainly focusses on the integration process of the European Union with a spotlight on discursive strategies in the European Parliament. While working at the political science institute at his university, he was able to gain more in-depth insights into the research process about international organisations and the EU.
Since he is interested in computing sciences, he spent time in courses concerning the development of integrative computing methods in humanities.
He enjoys reading books, visiting the theatre, and trying to cook Asian cuisine.
Nehle is in the final year of a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences in Kleve and is currently working as a student assistant in the Secretariat of the Global Diplomacy Lab.
Alongside her degree Nehle has participated in various Model United Nations and Model African Union simulations which have contributed to her strong interest in international politics and especially in the fields of international security and diplomacy. Nehle has also taken part in two seminars on EU-Russia relations together with students from other universities in Germany, the Netherlands and Russia, allowing her to gain deeper insights into the European Union’s work and its international ties as well as to meet people from different countries and fields of study. Participating in these events and studying at an international university has encouraged her keen interest in intercultural communication, the work of diplomats and the importance of international relations.
In her free time Nehle enjoys cooking and baking, jumping fitness, travelling and spending time with friends and family.
Ramina Yachkaschi is pursuing her passion for gender and diversity-related issues in her PhD thesis. She is a doctoral candidate at the Gender and Diversity Division of the Otto Suhr Institute of Political Science at the Freie Universität Berlin.
Before joining the GDL Secretariat, Ramina managed various programmes for the Training for International Diplomats programme at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin.
She holds a Master’s degree in the Politics and Economics of the Near and Middle East from Philipps-Universität Marburg. Alongside her studies, she completed interdisciplinary classes and training courses on gender and diversity, thus fostering her expertise.
Her love and curiosity for different cultures was nurtured by her multicultural upbringing. She has been moving between Germany and Iran all her life.
In her free time, she enjoys cooking with family and friends and making pottery.
Never one to run out of questions to ask, Lea is passionate about what makes other people tick. Not only does she enjoy delving into her fellow humans’ stories, but she also loves sharing those stories, be they in a personal or – as is the case with the GDL – professional environment. As a PR consultant, she brings her knowledge and expertise in the world of media to the table to ensure that the members’ stories reach as wide an audience as possible.
The GDL’s and Lea’s paths first crossed in 2017, when she interned with the department for International Training for Diplomats at the Federal Foreign Office. Fortunately for her, the GDL enlisted her help to plan and organise the 7th Lab, entitled “Truth, Memory and Justice”, which took place in Berlin. Witnessing first-hand the incredible drive and hunger for change that the members share, the idea of one day returning to work with the GDL took root in the back of her head. What was once just a hope has now become reality, as she has taken on the role of public relations manager for the GDL.
Lea is responsible for PR and communications within the Secretariat. She is currently also studying Business Psychology as a Master’s at the HMKW University of Applied Sciences. In her leisure time, she can most likely either be found on her road bike, in the swimming pool or with her nose buried deeply in a book.
Julie August is a graphic designer and art curator. She works as a graphic designer for publishing houses and architects, as well as cultural and social projects, and also organises exhibitions. Before moving to Buenos Aires, she lived in Berlin for 15 years. As art director at the small left-wing publishing house Verlag Klaus Wagenbach, she converted part of her home into a project space for contemporary artists.
The 18m gallery led her to other curatorial projects, first in Albania and Serbia, and now in Argentina and Germany. Together with Rachel Kohn, she has been directing the women artists’ network “Frauenmuseum Berlin” for eight years. She studied literature and art history in Munich and graphic design in Leipzig. She has a 24-year-old daughter and is married to the Argentine filmmaker Liliana Furió. In addition to her cultural activities, she sees a profound necessity to participate in social and human rights issues.
Learn more about Julie in this article.
Yandeh Sallah-Muhammed is a professional in the environmental conservation field with a long-term focus in marine conservation and a specific passion for shark conservation. Yandeh uses their passion for the ocean and nature to spread knowledge and awareness in the Gambia.
They also focus on nature-based solutions for community sustainable solutions through the project of the Gambian Marine and Environmental Conservation Initiative that utilises sustainable recreation, permaculture and free education to be able to share knowledge on these themes, as well as physically immerse within these landscapes to fully grasp the effects of climate change and environmental degradation due to the exploitation of natural resources.
In addition to working as the Director of the Gambian Marine and Environmental Conservation Initiative, Yandeh works as an Environmental Officer for the Fandema Women Development Center that offers free training for women in rural areas to become solar installers.
To join forces and collaborate with fellow African changemakers, Yandeh Sallah-Muhammed is a member of the Resilient 40 network, bridging the gap between African environmental change-makers.
Julia Jaroschewski is a reporter and founder of Buzzing Cities Lab, a think tank focusing on digital technology and security in informal settlements such as the Favelas in Rio. She works for Die WELT, Spiegel Online, fluter and WIRED, covering mainly foreign politics, organised crime, the war on drugs and security policy. She studied in Portugal, has an MA in political sciences from Berlin and has worked for the UN in New York and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in Mozambique.
Julia has attended the Axel Springer Akademie and Columbia School of Journalism. As a fellow of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation and the Besser-Stiftung she reported from Brazil and South Africa, and from Mozambique as a scholar working for Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung. In 2016 she was part of the international journalism programme for South America, working for the Brazilian newspaper O Globo. She has also spent three months in India as a Media Ambassador for the Robert Bosch Stiftung.
Read more about her engagement and how cities can function as future labs for innovative forms of diplomacy. More about her ideas on Women in Crime can be found here. Or read her article on community-led crisis response or on Guinea Bissau.
Natalie started her internship with the Global Diplomacy Lab in February 2022. She is completing her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at the University Hamburg this year. Alongside her studies she works as a student assistant at the Center for University Teaching and Learning (HUL), as well as with the university’s Peacebuilding initiative.
For her degree, Natalie is primarily focusing on Peace and Conflict Studies, Gender Studies and International Relations. She has participated in various Model United Nations, most recently the Harvard World Model United Nations 2021. She is also active on her university campus and coordinates weekly language cafes in order to enhance her cultural competence and her language skills.
Natalie loves spending time with her family and enjoys baking, reading and travelling in her free time.
Ferdinand is doing a six-month internship at the Global Diplomacy Lab Secretariat as part of his Political Science and Public Administration programme at the University of Konstanz.
He is an adventurous person who practices intercultural exchange by surfing the couches of strangers all around the globe. Ferdinand’s passion for intercultural exchange developed during a High School Year in Texas under the CBYX program. To this very day, he cherishes this special connection with the United States.
After his high school graduation, Ferdinand decided to travel the world, a journey that took him from Berlin to Singapore, only by bus and train. While travelling on the Trans-Siberian Railway, he quickly fell in love with the culture and mentality of Russian and Chinese people and soon developed a keen interest in the politics and history of both countries.
Several seminars about the Chinese political system at the University of Zurich and an exchange semester in Moscow deepened that interest further, leading to an academic path primarily focused on the foreign policy of the two states.
In his free time, Ferdinand enjoys the outdoors by hiking, cycling and swimming in the south-east of Berlin.
Lena is an International Relations graduate and currently enrolled in the research master’s programme European Studies at Maastricht University and the University of Cologne. She was an intern at the GDL secretariat in 2019 and returned to the Training for International Diplomats department as a project coordinator for the alumni team in 2020. After 15 months of work experience with the Federal Foreign Office, she is now back at the GDL to coordinate the Incubator Lab ‘Realigning Diplomacy by Networking’, due to take place in October 2022.
If you do not find her cooking or baking for her friends and family, outside on a run, enjoying a coffee and good book in the sun, or at concerts of her favourite artists, she is likely to be engaged in voluntary work or conducting research on one of her favourite topics: EU feminist foreign policy.
To conclude, here are some more facts about Lena: Her favourite colour is blue, she has a twin brother, she has run 3 half-marathons and is planning the next already, and her favourite way to relax is colouring in mandalas.
Theresa is studying Political Science and Public Law at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. She aims to specialise in international security and peace & conflict studies for her Master’s degree. She discovered her passion for diplomacy while taking part in the Model United Nations, which she will lead next semester as Head Delegate.
Over the past year she studied at Sciences Po Rennes, where she acquired the Certificat d’études politiques. She then spent two months in Brussels as an intern at the Bavarian Representation to the EU. In her free time, Theresa travels, goes hiking in the Alps and spends as much time as possible with her friends.
Viktoria is studying the MA in International Relations at the Free University, Humboldt University and University of Potsdam and currently works as a project coordinator at the GDL.
One of her greatest passions is foreign policy and geopolitics. Her greatest career aspiration is to play an active role in shaping multilateral and bilateral relations.
At the GDL, she already completed a four-month internship, then worked as a project coordinator for the European Diplomatic Programme 2020/21 and later also as a student assistant.
Driven by her further interests in travel and intercultural affairs, she has participated in various cultural and political projects. Together with Ukrainian students, Viktoria designed an exhibition in Kiev and Potsdam and organised a workshop on media freedom with Russian students. She also worked for several years as an interpreter for Russian- and English-speaking refugees in hospitals.
In her free time Viktoria loves to meet friends, play basketball and work at her favourite bar in Berlin.
Charlotte started her internship at the Global Diplomacy Lab in August 2022. She is a student of History and Cultures of the Middle East with a focus on Arabic Studies at Freie Universität Berlin.
Charlotte is also taking classes in Political Science and participated in the Undergraduate Summer School at King’s College London on Terrorism and National Security this summer. After high school, she worked in New York City for seven months and spent an exchange semester at the German Jordanian University in Jordan, improving her Arabic skills. She is also interested in communications and working with social media.
Following her passion for diplomacy, Charlotte has participated in several Model United Nations conferences and is a volunteer staff member for National Model United Nations New York.
In her free time, she likes travelling, listening to music and spending time with her friends.
Finn is studying political science at the University of Bremen. He will complete his Bachelor’s degree next semester and then plans to enrol for the Master’s programme “International Relations and Global Governance”. Currently, he is doing a two-month internship at the Global Diplomacy Lab which is giving him his first hands-on experience in the political space.
Upon finishing high school, he spent time traveling through Thailand, Indonesia and across Australia. This was when he came to understand the importance of intercultural exchange and developed the travelling bug. His other passions include sport, particularly football. He plays for the club in his hometown and is also involved off the field. If he is not busy studying or playing football, he enjoys spending time with friends or outdoors.