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.
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.
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.
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.
Ayça is supporting the GDL Team as an intern for the next two months (January-February 2021). She is studying for a BA in Political Science and Islamic Studies at the University of Heidelberg.
Coming from a family with a Turkish background, her passion for intercultural affairs started very early. As a high school student, she participated in youthHansa, the youth organisation of the HANSE, where she was one of the delegates of her hometown Neuss. It was a good opportunity to exchange views and experiences concerning youth issues in Europe. After finishing high school, she wanted to see more of the world and spent her gap year in Australia working as an au-pair for a British-Australian family in Melbourne. She travelled abroad and studied in Istanbul for a semester through the ERASMUS programme.
She is very interested in topics connected to the postmigrant society in Germany, as well as in foreign policy in general. This is the reason why Ayça is currently working on a voluntary basis at the German-Turkish Young Diplomats Association. Previously, she worked as a volunteer in the network Migration Hub Heidelberg.
Alongside her studies, she worked for two years in an election research institute in Mannheim.
In her free time, she enjoys travelling, going to the theatre and cooking.
Tanja is supporting the GDL Secretariat as a volunteer. She studies law at the University of Potsdam where she just majored in international law, focusing on current issues in humanitarian law and human rights.
Alongside her studies, Tanja works for a law firm with a focus on aviation law and is a mentor for first-year law students at her university. She has also interned with a legal firm specialised in asylum and migration law.
In her free time, Tanja enjoys travelling with friends, reading good books and working out or playing tennis.
Philipp is a student of Social and Political Science at the Heinrich-Heine-University in Düsseldorf and is currently working as an intern 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.