Twitter Blog Expert Directory

The Global Diplomacy Lab is a members-driven organisation, meaning that its bi-annual labs as well as additional GDL activities are co-created by the members themselves. In 2019 four working groups have been formed:

Kick-off of Working Groups (Berlin, February 2019)
Kick-off of Working Groups (Berlin, February 2019)
Kick-off of Working Groups (Berlin, February 2019)
Facilitating at the 2019 Incubator Lab - Photo Credit: Jean-Baptiste Hounsou
Moderating the discussion at the 2019 Impact Lab - Photo Credit: Marc Beckmann

Summit Working Group
Members: Amarachi Adannaya Igboegwu, Stefan Cibian, Edna Elizabeth Martinez Quintanilla and Susanne Salz

This group is designing, developing and implementing events to mark the GDL's 5th anniversary: the prE-Summit in May 2020 and the live-Summit, to be held in Berlin in June 2021.

Strategy Group
Members: Marty Castro, Eirliani Abdul Rahman, Johannes Braun, Theresa Carrington and Elsa D'Silva

This group was tasked with reflecting on the GDL's trajectory - its evolution so to say - and on a vision for the path that lies ahead. Working closely together with the Partnership Resource Center of the Erasmus University Rotterdam they developed a strategy, which you can download here (PDF, 70 KB).

Curriculum Group
Members: Ivana Petrov (February – June 2019), Elizabeth Maloba (July – October 2019), Cecilia Barja Chamas, Stefan Cibian, Volkan Sezgin and Liane Wörner

This group was tasked with developing the 2019 curriculum. It designed the programmes for two labs (16-19 June and 27-30 October 2019) and the periods before, in between, and after the labs. It worked closely with the Methodology Group to identify the most interactive, innovative, and creative ways to address this issue along with GDL members and external contributors.

Methodology Group
Members: Julia Spinelli, Julie August, Brisa Ceccon Rocha and Patrick Mpedzisi

This group was tasked with providing a methodological approach to enable the successful development and implementation of the 2019 curriculum, by working closely with the Curriculum and Strategy Groups. The Methodology Group supported the Curriculum Group by identifying innovative approaches to implement the curriculum and ensure communication
and interaction among all members, during labs, and in the periods before, in between, and after labs.

Amarachi Adannaya Igboegwu

Ms Amarachi Adannaya Igboegwu is an Equity and Empathy Consultant with vast international training and coaching experience. Her primary goal is to empower both private and public institutions with a view to enhancing and building their human capacity by improving communication lines and promoting belongingness.

Her doctoral research study connects critical self-reflection and self-knowledge to the conscious teaching of elements that are necessary for dealing with structural racism. She has pioneered pre-service teacher training courses on the topic of conscious teaching, led workshops and given talks on the importance of critical self-reflection and the impact of implicit bias in daily life.


Stefan Cibian

Stefan Cibian believes that together we can generate social change and inspire our communities. He is passionate about bringing together global experiences and everyday local activities and does this through his work in research, consulting and volunteering.

Stefan has a background in development, international relations, political science and law and received his MA and a PhD from Central European University. His research focuses on peacebuilding, statehood and development in Africa. He is also involved in civil society activities, focusing on community development and resilience. Stefan is director at Cibian Consulting and co-initiator of the Făgăraş Research Institute. He is a visiting lecturer in international development at Babeş-Bolyai University.

Previously Stefan was an Academy Robert Bosch Fellow at the Queen Elizabeth II Academy for Leadership in International Affairs, Chatham House.

Edna Elizabeth Martinez Quintanilla

Edna Martinez is an enthusiastic consultant in sustainable development and public policy. For over a decade, Edna has worked to design, develop and implement public policies focused on sustainability. She has adapted international agendas to the Mexican context, such as sustainable production and consumption, waste management, eco-labelling and, most recently, the 2030 Agenda, most commonly known as the Sustainable Development Goals.

Edna worked at the Mexican Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources for over five years, where her proudest achievements include the development of a National Strategy and a Special Program in Sustainable Production and Consumption. She has collaborated with UNDP and the Office of the Presidency in the design of the Implementation Strategy of the SDGs for Mexico and for FAO in the Foresight of the Agricultural Sector. Edna also co-wrote a public policy recommendation for the T20 when chaired by Germany. She also finds great satisfaction in sharing knowledge digitally, in open forums and teaching at universities.

Edna is currently part of a project that is creating an offsite space for co-creation, team building and workshop spaces for international and local organisations. This space, known as Mineralito, is in a tranquil rural area, surrounded by beautiful green landscapes and natural reserves. Knowledge sharing and designing and creating sustainable lifestyles is what inspired Mineralito. This project has turned Edna into an avid researcher of bio-construction in the creation of this magical place, where everything is designed and built with sustainability in mind and shared to be replicated.

Susanne Salz

Susanne Salz’s key areas of expertise and interest are sustainable development and global governance. She is heading a project on multi-stakeholder-partnerships to implement the 2030 Agenda at GIZ.

Previously, Susanne started the United Actors, an innovative start-up in the global governance scene, worked at the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Action Campaign, at the Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP), ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the OECD and UN Volunteers. In 2012, Susanne managed the involvement of local governments in the UN Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development on behalf of ICLEI. In her free time Susanne enjoys rowing and competes in 100km rowing races on the Rhine.


Read more about Susanne in her blog article.

Marty Castro

Marty Castro is President and CEO of Castro Synergies, LLC, which provides strategic consulting services to persons and organisations seeking to have a positive social impact on diverse communities. He is also President and CEO of Casa Central, one of the largest Latino-serving social services agencies in the Midwestern United States.  

In 2011, President Barack Obama appointed Mr Castro to a six-year term on the United States Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR), also nominating Mr Castro to be the first Latino Chairperson in the history of the USCCR. Mr. Castro has received numerous awards and accolades for his community service, including the Ohtli Award, the Mexican government’s highest honour presented to those outside of Mexico for service to the Mexican diaspora.

Mr Castro is the recipient of three honorary doctorates of Humane Letters from Roosevelt University, DePaul University, and Governor’s State University. He received his Bachelor’s in Political Science from DePaul University and his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Michigan Law School.

Eirliani Abdul Rahman

Eirliani Abdul Rahman is co-founder of YAKIN (Youth, Adult Survivors & Kin In Need), an NGO working in the field of child rights and child protection issues, and a member of Twitter’s Safety & Trust Council. She is also Programme Director at the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation.

In September 2015, the #FullStop to #childsexualabuse campaign that Eirliani led on behalf of Nobel Peace laureate Satyarthi reached 16 million people over six weeks. She won the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Award the same year. She is a Fellow of the London-based Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

Eirliani edited Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s book Will for Children, a collection of essays on child labour published in 2016. Her book on true accounts by survivors of child sexual abuse Survivors: Breaking the Silence on Child Sexual Abuse was published by Marshall Cavendish in 2017. It is now in its third print run. She also contributed a case study to the medical textbook Essentials of Global Health, co-edited by Babulal Sethia, Past President and Global Health Lead of the Royal Society of Medicine, published by Elsevier in London in 2018. The book won first prize in the Public Health category at the 2019 British Medical Association book awards.

Eirliani was in the Singapore Foreign Service from 2005 to 2015, serving in Berlin as First Secretary (Political) and then in Delhi as Political Counsellor. From June 2015 to November 2017, she was a member of the Advisory Council of the Global Diplomacy Lab (GDL).

Eirliani trains in Colorado and Nunavut, Arctic Canada. She speaks English, German, Bahasa and Russian.


Read more about Eirliani in her latest blog article. You can also read her articles about her polar expedition, about human trafficking, the injustice of the Brexit for the British Youth and learn more about her work and activism.

Johannes Braun

Johannes Braun is Project Director of the Sino-German Quality Infrastructure (QI) Project based in Beijing. The QI Project supports the ongoing bilateral political dialogue on issues of product safety, technical barriers to trade and market access. It serves as an innovative platform for a government-to-government regulatory dialogue, which also integrates enterprises, industry associations and think tanks in concrete cooperation activities on topics of mutual interest.

The QI Project is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). GIZ is a federally owned organisation that supports the German Federal Government in achieving its objectives in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development and operates in 130 countries. In China, GIZ is currently implementing more than 30 cooperation projects with Chinese partners on behalf of the German Government and the EU.

Previously, Johannes served as team leader for Strategy and Portfolio Development at the China Office in Beijing with expertise in the management of project-based international cooperation, international relations and development policy. Johannes joined GIZ as a participant in its graduate fast-track programme, with postings to cooperation projects in China and at the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the World Bank. Through several internships and volunteering activities, he acquired a broad insight into development challenges in Africa and Latin America as well as into foreign, economic and development policy-making institutions and processes.

Johannes holds an MA in Political Science, Public Law and Economics from the University of Regensburg and an MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics.

Theresa Carrington

In 2004, Theresa Carrington set out to address the issue of extreme poverty. Having grown up in poverty in the Midwest, she drew upon her life experiences to develop innovative approaches to ending poverty.

Today, Theresa and her team have pioneered a formula that sustainably ends poverty. Known as Ten by Three, the formula has been successfully replicated in eight developing nations, reignited more than 80 broken economies throughout three continents and positively impacted the lives of more than 8000 people and 32,000 of their family members.  

Here is how the formula works: Theresa and her team buys ten artisan products a month at Prosperity Wages from an artisan for three years. The artisan is required to use part of their earnings to start three businesses. Within three years the artisan’s businesses grow to support them and they graduate from the Ten by Three Program. Theresa’s model is widely recognised, and she has received an honorary doctorate of humanities from Washington University in St. Louis for her pioneering work.

Elsa Marie D’Silva

Elsa Marie D’Silva is the founder and CEO of Red Dot Foundation (Safecity), a platform that crowdsources personal experiences of sexual violence and abuse in public spaces. Since Safecity started in December 2012, it has become the largest crowd map on the issue in India, Kenya, Cameroon and Nepal.
Elsa Marie is an alumna of the US State Department’s Fortune Program, a fellow with Rotary Peace, Aspen New Voices and Vital Voices, and a BMW Foundation Responsible Leader. She is listed as one of BBC Hindi’s 100 Women. Moreover, she has won the Female Entrepreneur of the Year Award launched by Dušan Stojanović (European Angel Investor of the Year 2013) and the SheThePeople’s Digital Woman Award in Social Impact.
Prior to Safecity, she spent 20 years in the aviation industry, where she worked with Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines. In her last role in aviation, she was Vice President Network Planning.


Read more about Elsa's work at Safecity and see for yourself in this this documentary. She also has a very clear vision for the Global Diplomacy Lab .


Ivana Petrov (née Ponjavic)

Ivana is an experienced professional with more than a decade of work in the field of international projects, public administration, and civil society. She was engaged with the Global Diplomacy Lab, both as freelance project manager and an elected advisory council member.

She worked for the Government of the Republic of Serbia as Communications Officer to the Head of the Negotiating Team for the Accession of Serbia to the European Union. Prior to that, she was Public Relations and Project Manager at the European Movement in Serbia. She also led the media team of the international conference Belgrade Security Forum.

Ivana is a graduate of the Hertie School of Governance, Executive Master of Public Administration programme in Berlin, the Faculty of Political Sciences of the University of Belgrade with focus on international relations, and the Diplomatic Academy of Serbia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Elizabeth Maloba

Elizabeth has twenty years’ experience in addressing complex challenges. She works in cross-sectoral, trans-professional, multi-stakeholder settings, providing support in problem solving and decision making processes and facilitating learning and the exchange of ideas and information. She has extensive experience in international cooperation, development cooperation, and private sector development.

Elizabeth is active in cross-cultural groups, from grassroots level to global platforms, assisting in the professional development of leaders and the formation of, teams, policies, strategies, plans, and business models that contribute to addressing development challenges. She brings skills in capacity building, knowledge management, facilitation, conflict resolution and management, as well as experience as an entrepreneur gained through a wide variety of assignments. She lives in Nairobi, works across the world, and speaks English, Swahili, German and French.


Find out more about her engagement here.


Cecilia Barja Chamas

Cecilia Barja Chamas has led political processes and cross-sector alliances in Latin America and the United States for 18 years. In 1999, she co-founded the political party “Movimiento Sin Miedo” and was elected to the office of councillor for La Paz at the age of 23. In 2008, she coordinated Magis Americas in New York, mobilising resources for “Fe y Alegría”, a Jesuit network of 3000 schools in 17 Latin American countries.

From 2010 to 2016, she was a member of Fundación Avina in Colombia, leading cross-sector alliances in six Amazonian countries and the peace process in rural areas of Colombia. Since September 2017, Cecilia has been part of the North Carolina Congress of Latino Organizations, affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), a grassroots network that builds relationships between races and religions on issues of common concern such as housing and education. She has a Master’s in public administration from Harvard Kennedy School.

Stefan Cibian

Stefan Cibian believes that together we can generate social change and inspire our communities. He is passionate about bringing together global experiences and everyday local activities and does this through his work in research, consulting and volunteering.

Stefan has a background in development, international relations, political science and law and received his MA and a PhD from Central European University. His research focuses on peacebuilding, statehood and development in Africa. He is also involved in civil society activities, focusing on community development and resilience. Stefan is director at Cibian Consulting and co-initiator of the Făgăraş Research Institute. He is a visiting lecturer in international development at Babeş-Bolyai University.

Previously Stefan was an Academy Robert Bosch Fellow at the Queen Elizabeth II Academy for Leadership in International Affairs, Chatham House.

Volkan Sezgin

Volkan Sezgin is an economic adviser and senior economic specialist at the US Mission in Turkey. Prior to that, he worked as a senior experts at the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Turkey. In 2014, he was employed by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs as a National Expert in Professional Training (NEPT). Before that, he was an energy expert at the state-owned Turkish Energy Company (BOTAS).

Volkan holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in science and technology policy studies from the Middle East Technical University. He also holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of Manchester and a PhD in economics from the University of Rome Tor Vergata. He was a visiting research fellow at the Department of Economics at the University of Cambridge and a Visegrad fellow at the Warsaw-based think tank, the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW).

Liane Wörner

Prof. Dr. Liane Wörner, LL.M. (UW), holds the Chair of Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Comparative Criminal Law, medical Criminal Law and Legal Theory at the University of Konstanz since December 2018. She habilitated at the Justus Liebig University Giessen/Germany (JLU) in 2017 and holds a venia legendi for criminal law, criminal procedure, comparative criminal law, European and International criminal law, medical criminal law and legal theory. Before taking her position in Konstanz, she taught as a stand-in-professor at Universities in Göttingen (2017), Leipzig (2017), and Frankfurt/Oder (2018). Professor Wörner received her LLM from the UW Madison Law School/USA (2003) and her doctorate from JLU Gießen/Germany (2009). She is a member of the AIDP, the German Comparative Law Society, the IFCCLGE, the EAK+, and the Global Diplomacy LAB (GDL).
From 2008 to 2014, Liane conducted international research on the entrenchment of criminal law within societies, comparing German and Turkish laws in an institutional setting involving the JLU, Istanbul State University, and Istanbul Kültür University. Within her postdoctoral paper Professor Wörner focused on legal frameworks on abortion, embryo protection, and assisted dying. In European and International criminal law matters she is a specialist on mutual recognition as regards enforcing European Arrest Warrants and European Investigation Orders, mutual assistance in criminal matters, legal aid, and legal frameworks for measurements against terrorism.

Julia Spinelli

Julia Spinelli is an architect and urbanist who has been working for the Brazilian Government since 2010. She currently serves as an infrastructure analyst at the Ministry of Cities, where she is involved in overseeing and advancing social housing policies at the National Housing Secretariat. Spinelli coordinates and monitors national and international cooperation and partnerships that focus on assessing, developing and improving housing programmes.

She is also involved in international agendas such as the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda. She is interested in sustainability as an integrated and multidisciplinary approach. She holds a BSc and a Master’s degree in architecture from the University of Campinas, Brazil. She is a fellow of the Managing Global Governance Academy, which is run by the German Development Institute and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Julie August

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.

Brisa Ceccon Rocha

Brisa has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in International Relations from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and undertook a specialization in Global Governance at the German Development Institute (DIE).

In the past twelve years, she has collaborated with various international organisations, NGO’s and academic institutions on topics such as food security, migration, the strengthening of civil society, and international cooperation for development. In addition, she has participated as a civil society delegate in various forums and high-level meetings held within the framework of the United Nations and other international organisations.

Brisa has also written various opinion pieces and academic articles relating to fair trade, migration, NGOs, diplomacy and multi-stakeholder dialogues.
She currently works at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) office in Cuba, coordinating the development of the Food Sovereignty and Nutrition Education Plan.


Patrick Mpedzisi

Patrick Mpedzisi is an organisational development consultant with over 15 years’ experience in the NGO sector in Africa. During this time he opened various processes for CSOs in Africa to engage in regional processes. He has managed major CSO initiatives, led regional campaigns and built civil society capacities across the continent. He now focuses on building NGOs’ capacities to be more effective in their sustainability and resource mobilisation.

A lawyer by profession, he also founded, a platform for restoring, preserving and celebrating African culture and identity and promoting ownership of the evolution of culture. Prior to that, he coordinated the African Democracy Forum, was project coordinator at Southern Africa Trust and led the African Youth Parliament, among other roles. He also co-authored a paper on South African foreign policy and regional integration.


You can read more about his engagement here.

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