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 an event 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.
Gaga is a student assistant at the Global Diplomacy Lab and an MA student of North American Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin, where he focuses on the politics and sociology of North America. His main interests include urban politics, especially the role of the cities in the future of transnational relations, as well as the global struggle for social equality. Alongside his studies, Gaga enjoys reading, cooking and playing Dota 2.
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. This step was only a stone’s throw away, as she previously worked in the same building, where she managed a workshop for Chinese diplomats for the Federal Foreign Office.
Corinna holds a Master’s degree in Media and Political Communication from Freie Universität Berlin. In her studies she focused on the use of social media by political organisations.
While she loves Berlin city life, in her free time Corinna often explores nature on foot or by bike.
Viktoria is completing her Bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary Russian studies at the University of Potsdam and is currently working as a student assistant in the Secretariat of the Global Diplomacy Lab. One of her biggest passions is foreign policy and geopolitics. Her greatest career dream is to play an active role in shaping multilateral and bilateral relations. With a view to getting closer to achieving her dream and her goals, she completed a four-month internship at the Global Diplomacy Lab. During her internship, she helped to prepare and organise this year’s GDL prE‑Summit. Furthermore, in her most recent role as a project coordinator, Viktoria oversaw the training sessions of the 21st European Diplomatic Programme.
Driven by her other interests for travelling and intercultural affairs, she has participated in various cultural and political projects. Together with Ukrainian students, Viktoria designed an exhibition in Kyiv and Potsdam, and also organised a workshop on freedom of the media with students from Russia. In addition, she worked as an interpreter for Russian- and English-speaking refugees in hospitals for a number of years.
Philipp is a student of Social and Political Science at the Heinrich-Heine-University in Düsseldorf and is currently volunteering 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.
Karolina is joining the GDL Team as an intern for the next three months starting in July 2021. She is pursuing the Václav Havel Joint Master Degree in European Politics and Society, an enriching Erasmus Mundus programme of the European Commission. Recently, she spent one semester at Charles University in Prague and one semester at Jagiellonian University in Kraków, where she focused on the foreign and development policy of the European Union.
After her internship at GDL, she will move to Barcelona, where she will conduct research on her Master’s thesis and finish her studies. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Rhine-Waal University in Kleve.
She is also passionate about German party politics and elections. Her passion for politics brought her to the hub of German democracy, the Bundestag. She co-organised its International Parliamentary Scholarship (IPS) Programme, which welcomes talented young scholars from the Arab world and promotes the dialogue between Germany and the Arab world. After this, she spent almost a year working for a group of Members of Parliament, supporting law proposals on education and science policies through the legislative procedure.
In her free time, she enjoys spending time in Dortmund (Germany) and Koszalin (Poland), the two cities she calls home.
Sarah is working as an intern at the Global Diplomacy Lab this year. She studies Humanities, the Arts and Social Thought, a program that combines politics, philosophy, and literature, with students from 60 countries at Bard College Berlin. Currently, she is completing her B.A. Thesis on Open Social Innovation, a format that invites all of society to solve societal issues and spark innovation.
Before and during her studies at Bard Berlin, Sarah studied politics, philosophy, sociology and economics at the Humboldt-University, the Freie Universität Berlin, and at Sciences Po Paris.
Besides her studies, Sarah worked as an author for her university newspaper „Die Bärliner,“ covering political, philosophical, artistic and literary topics. She has also worked as a research assistant for Maria Khan’s Ph.D. project "Was jetzt, Goethe?“ at Cambridge University.
Since April, Sarah is part of a scientific research team at Hertie School that observes the current national program UpdateDeutschland, the successor initiative of #WirvsVirus which tackled issues related to the pandemic.
In her free time, Sarah loves to read, write and observe nature. She was always driven by the idea to combine passion and profession. Since the age of 14, she has been performing her poems and literary works as a poetry slammer.
Max is joining the Global Diplomacy Lab as an intern for the next ten weeks starting in August 2021. He is studying Political Science and Sociology with a focus on international relations and political economy at Goethe-University in Frankfurt am Main. His current topics of interest are peace and conflict research and sustainability. After his internship at GDL, he will move to Prague to study at Charles University.
During his prior internships, Max worked in public sector consulting, European policy and language teaching. He also spent one year with the German Red Cross working in humanitarian aid during the European migrant crisis in 2015. Alongside his studies, he is a leader at 180 Degrees Consulting. Together with his teammates, he advises social enterprises, businesses and NGOs on how to increase their social impact.
Max hails from the Rhineland and in his free time, he enjoys travelling, reading, cooking and spending time with friends.
Eleni is currently completing her Master program at Centre International de Formation Européenne with a thesis about Big Data governance and technological challenges. In the programme she has been trained as a Policy officer with a focus on conflict management and European integration. She holds a Master degree in Specialised Translation for English and a Bachelor in Translation and Interpreting for English and French.
Through her previous studies in London, Nice and Rome she has lived in a multicultural environment and acquired comprehensive knowledge as to cultural studies, economics and institutions. In a multinational school in London, she has volunteered as welfare assistant which deepened her understanding of intercultural communication and conflict resolution. In the course of her latest Master program she became very involved in diplomacy and global affairs. Workshops in negotiation and institutional debating increased her curiosity further; consequently, she is now expanding her expertise regarding diplomacy with the GDL in a professional environment.
When she has some time off, Eleni enjoys exploring Berlin, good conversations with her friends and meeting new people. She loves spending time in nature and doing sports. Her interests further include nutrition and reading as many books as possible.
Willem de Mol van Otterloo
Willem is joining the GDL as a volunteer for the next four months starting in September 2021. His volunteering position constitutes the first chapter of his gap year between secondary school and university, where he hopes to study History. His study of 19th Century European History has stimulated his interest in diplomacy, especially when it seeks to break new and unconventional ground. It is this curiosity for novel insights into international co-operation which drew him to the GDL.
Whilst his parents come from the Netherlands, Willem was born and grew up in London. Recreationally, he loves reading history and literature. His interest in medieval German history has inspired him to spend a gap year in Germany, where he hopes to acquire a deeper and more creative sense of the German language and Germany’s culture.