From January 20 to 23, the current Elected Advisory Council, the Secretariat and Dean Ruprecht Polenz met for a hybrid workshop to discuss the results of the four working groups and how to implement them. Whilst it was possible for the Secretariat and EAC members Cristina Gallegos, Gina Romero and Johannes Braun to travel to Coconat, a sustainable workation retreat centre in Brandenburg, Satyarupa Shekhar Swain and Mr Polenz joined online.
After jointly setting the agenda on the first day, the Secretariat went on to in detail describe its workings as well as its role in the extended GDL network. Once a common understanding had been developed, EAC, Dean and Secretariat discussed the fruits of the four working groups’ labour, which had over the past year worked on a member charter as well as strategies for financial sustainability, communication and impact. The EAC together with Ruprecht Polenz and the Secretariat set out to design an action plan outlining the next steps. Once finalised, the GDL will move forwards with the outcomes generated by the working groups and officially kick-off the implementation phase.
Ruprecht Polenz was a member of the German Parliament from 1994 to 2013 as representant of the City of Muenster. He was the Chairman of the German Bundestag’s Committee on Foreign Affairs from 2005 to 2013. He is currently special envoy of the German Government for the negotiations between Germany and Namibia about the colonial past. The focal points of his work are foreign and security policy, with regional emphasis on the Middle East, in particular Iran and Turkey and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is following the political effects of Islam both in this region and beyond with particular interest. Good transatlantic relations with the USA are especially important to him. Polenz became senior member of the CDU party on April 10, 2000 under the presidency of Angela Merkel. From April to November 2000, he was the Secretary-General of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Ruprecht Polenz holds a number of voluntary positions: President of the German Association for East European Studies (DGO), German Co-Dean of the Turkish-Europe-Future-Forum (a common Enterprise of the Mercator-Foundation and TÜSIAD), Senior Adviser to the Bosch-Alumni-Program with the USA, member of the board of trustees of Grünhelme e.V. (“Green Helmets”, a humanitarian agency), member of the board of trustees of Münster University of Applied Sciences, member of the advisory council of the European Council on Foreign Relations.
A strategist for the social sector and an expert on global change and philanthropy, Cristina Gallegos builds convergence towards people + planet + profit for foundations and businesses, strengthening brands through the power of well-applied purpose. A social entrepreneur, Cristina Gallegos has founded six businesses and has 30 years of experience in the field, 20 of which as an advisor to ultra-high-net-worth families and the non-profits they care about.
She is the CEO of Skylarx, a Triple Bottom Line, Los Angeles-based consulting firm with a presence in Denver, Brussels and Estonia, working to align public, philanthropic, and business efforts to strengthen the global society and the people who make it great. Skylarx works on projects targeting board growth, strategic planning, executive coaching, fundraising strategies, and merging business models with charity models. A lot of Cristina’s work tackles systems overhaul and grand challenges – from digitisation to inequality, the future of work, future of learning, financial sustainability, AI, the environment and democracy.
Gina Romero is a social activist, social entrepreneur and expert in civic education, youth empowerment, integrity and anticorruption as well as democracy strengthening.
She has wide experience in public diplomacy, networking, formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of social projects for development. She is an international consultant on anticorruption and youth issues and is currently the Director of the Latin American and Caribbean Network for Democracy.
Gina is a professional in the field of government and international relations, and has a Master in the Analysis of Political, Economic and International Contemporary Problems from the Universidad Externado de Colombia, among other courses and degrees.
Gina has received recognition on several occasions for her work in Latin America and the Caribbean: Global Changemaker (2011), Drapers Hill Fellow (Stanford, 2012) and Historical and Accountability Fellow (Columbia, 2017).
She has been part of the founding groups of different civil society organisations at national, regional and global level such as Ocasa (Colombia), Redlad (Americas), the World Youth Movement for Democracy and the Global Youth network for Democracy (global).
Johannes Braun is an experienced manager of international dialogues and cooperation projects between Germany and its global partners such as China, India, Brazil, Mexico and Indonesia.
He is currently based in Berlin and leads the Global Project Quality Infrastructure (www.gpqi.org), which is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of for the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Previously, Johannes served as an advisor for Strategy and Portfolio Development at GIZ’s China Office in Beijing.
Johannes is an alumni of the Mercator Foundation’s 2014 Zukunftsbrücke - Chinese-German Young Professional Campus and is a founding member of the Global Diplomacy Lab (GDL).
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.
Satyarupa Shekhar is the coordinator of #breakfreefromplastic movement for Asia Pacific region.
Satyarupa leads the regional effort for developing holistic and inclusive strategies to dramatically reduce plastic production, pollution, and usage. She works with and supports frontline communities and organizations – leaders in their right – working to promote sustainable, effective, and locally-driven initiatives. Her areas of interest are public administration, the role of elected representatives, open data and the use of technology to improve governance. She has been a part of innovative action research projects that take a new look at common urban challenges, including those involving informal waste workers, public toilets and decision making for municipal services.
She has worked with Chennai's city government and a Tamil Nadu state department to improve their data-management practices to plan civic infrastructure better, and has supported the creation of data that has been used by the city government and courts to provide evidence for failures in service provision. Satyarupa is recognised as a commentator on transparency and accountability and (open) data, as well as the role of data intermediaries.