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2020-2021 Incubator Labs

The GDL had to adjust quickly to the unprecedented situation of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020/2021 Labs start with a virtual Incubator phase, preparing participants for an on site Impact phase in 2022. All Labs have been extraordinary from the very beginning, as they are organised and implemented by GDL members.


Global Leadership and the SDGs: What Role for Local Communities?

December 2020 December 2021: Incubator Lab (online)
May, 15 to 19: In-Person Impact Lab in Făgăraș and Sibiu

GDL member Stefan Cibian has hosted this Lab together with the team from the Făgăraș Research Institute and has been supported by many local partner organisations. In a world where the majority of people live in local communities, the role of these communities in global affairs is only rarely reflected. Given the increasing democratisation of international relations, the overarching aim of the Făgăraș Lab was to explore the role of local communities in global leadership, partnership for the SDGs, addressing security and global challenges, and innovation in diplomacy.

The Lab comprised of three tracks:

1. The Făgăraș Municipality and the SDGs (with the Făgăraș Municipality as challenge holder);
2.  Community Foundations and the SDGs (with the Țara Făgărașului Community Foundation as challenge holder);
3. Social entrepreneurship and the SDGs (with Ashoka Romania as challenge holder).


You can find more information here.

For information on the Impact Lab, please click here.


Graphic Recording by Susanne Kitlinski

The Impact of Urban Design on Inclusive Cities

GDL Lab in Mumbai, India

Incubator Lab: October 2020 – June 2021 (online)
Impact Lab: Fall 2022 (on site)

Hosted by the Red Dot Foundation, the Lab in India, co-organised by GDL members Elsa Marie D’Silva, Eirliani Abdul Rahman and Rudrani Dasgupta, will invite participants to think about the impact of urban design on inclusive cities, and to contribute to building a more inclusive and safer city for all inhabitants. The Lab will bring participants to Mumbai – a city defined by its staggering contrasts: a city of dreams for some, a slum for others. Taking into account SDGs 5, 11 and 17, the Lab aims to provide an insight into how to examine intersectionality as well as to improve governance and accountability for the city in the long run. This Lab will be an excellent opportunity to develop and try out a model for an inclusive city that could also be applied elsewhere.


Social Innovation to address the nexus of Human Mobility and Development

GDL Lab in Mexico City, Mexico

Incubator Lab: September 2021 (online)
Impact Lab: October 2021 - February 2022 (online)

Organised by GDL Members Edna Martinez and Carolina Sheinfeld, the Lab was hosted by Daniel Gamboa from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Mexico and supported by Myriam Martinez in strategy design. This Lab aimed to co-design solutions for immigrant integration in Mexico. The country has the second-largest number of migrants in the world and as a neighbour to the Northern Triangle is a recipient for emigrants. People from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador migrate to Mexico, in addition to refugee communities from Venezuela and Haiti. 

Over the span of eleven days, over thirty participants from thirteen different countries participated in workshops and discussed with expert practitioners, journalists, scholars and grassroot leaders on what the root of the problem is and how solutions can be actionable. 

The problem is the relevant gap between the global initiatives and local communities. We still want to understand how this aperture between the efforts of the national government, local authorities, private sector or international organisations and bottom to top efforts of the civil society, media and migrant women and youth, came to be. Reasons for that are various. Little visibility of efforts, or poor coordination between actors could result in every attempt of solution to nullify. Links between institutions could be broken and make cooperation more difficult and especially if the solutions are unscalable as the numbers are still unknown. 

Incubator Lab

The Incubator Lab approached the challenge with defining the issue on hand at first and focusing on the hypothesis and statements. For example, awareness, education and transparency are also issues that need to be considered, as well as other stakeholders and the involvement of institutions and understanding their processes. 

Although, because of COVID-19, the approach was kept digital, many experts and practitioners shared their experiences, from i.e. El Chaparral - the biggest encampment in the north of Mexico. 

Impact Lab & Outcome

Mexico Lab
Mexico Lab

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 documentary. She also has a very clear vision for the Global Diplomacy Lab.

Eirliani Abdul Rahman

Eirliani Abdul Rahman is a 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 Trust and Safety Council.

In September 2015, the #FullStop to #childsexualabuse campaign that Eirliani led on behalf of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi reached 16 million people over six weeks. She won the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Award the same year.

Eirliani edited Kailash Satyarthi’s book Will for Children, a collection of essays on child labour published in 2016. Her own book Survivors: Breaking the Silence on Child Sexual Abuse, a collection of true accounts by survivors, was published by Marshall Cavendish in 2017. It won joint second prize in the 2020 Golden Door Awards. She also contributed a case study to the medical textbook Essentials of Global Health, co-edited by Babulal Sethia, Honorary Fellow and former President of the Royal Society of Medicine, which was 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 worked in Singapore’s 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. She is a Fellow of the London-based Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

Eirliani is pursuing a doctorate in public health at Harvard University. She speaks Malay, English, German and Russian.


Read more about Eirliani in her latest blog article. You can also read her articles about her polar expedition and about human trafficking and learn more about her workactivism and contribution to the Gender Alliance.

Rudrani Dasgupta

Rudrani Dasgupta works with ActionAid India, an international non-profit aiming to eliminate poverty. Having graduated from University College London with a Masters in sociology (childhood and children’s rights) on a full scholarship, she is now a child rights researcher primarily interested in exploring the long-term impact of structural violence on children, especially in education and family.

She is currently coordinating a state-level study examining the impact of domestic violence on children. Recently, she was part of a state-level committee that drafted a school safety policy for the state of West Bengal in India.

Rudrani has been mentoring young people across the geosocial-economic spectrum ever since she spent two years working in a remote Himalayan school for first generation learners. She also takes a personal interest in mentoring young people from non-traditional and non-linear backgrounds.


Edna Elizabeth Martinez Quintanilla

Edna Martinez is an enthusiastic consultant in sustainable development and public policy.

For over a decade, Edna has worked in designing, developing and implementing 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 in the Mexican Ministry of Environmental 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 has also co-written 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 in 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 organizations. 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.

Edna was raised in the North of Mexico, growing up both in a rural town and in Monterrey, the second largest city of Mexico. Edna currently lives in Mexico City, but she prefers the loud grandiosity and the noble silence of the natural environment.

Carolina Sheinfeld

Throughout her career, Carolina Sheinfeld has sought to advance meaningful change from a local to a global level. Working with the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) she has been able to design and implement initiatives that create safe and welcoming learning environments and through these has reached over 1.5 million students and their families. Prior to coming to LACOE, Carolina Sheinfeld managed a highly regarded programme for immigrants in need of humanitarian protection at the largest legal aid firm in the United States, providing legal assistance, case management and community education to asylees and refugees in the Greater Los Angeles area.

Throughout her career, Carolina Sheinfeld has been actively involved in developing and executing strategies to raise the visibility of the agencies that she represents. She has built and strengthens coalitions and advocated extensively to generate systemic change in the area of immigrant and refugee integration. She is a seasoned trainer and presenter and has thrived as convener and event organiser, both through the Refugee Forum and the Asylum Collaborative of Los Angeles.

Carolina Sheinfeld is a Rotary Peace Fellow and a UN Alliance of Civilizations Fellow. In 2017, she joined the Welcoming Communities Transatlantic Exchange network, a group of integration practitioners in the United States and Germany. She has been part of the BMW Responsible Leaders Network since 2015.

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