Leona Lillian Abban
Leona Lillian Abban is Client Relations Manager at MicroEnsure Ghana and has been with the company since 2011. She has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Cape Coast, where she majored in Fisheries and Aquatic Science.
Leona gained in-depth industry knowledge from 2007 at Prime Insurance Company Limited, working in the Finance, Business Development and Underwriting Departments. She then moved on to MicroEnsure in 2011 as an Accounts Executive. In 2014, she rose to the rank of Clients Relations Manager, overseeing relationship management for all corporate clients.
Leona continues to contribute to the Ghanaian insurance industry with her expert knowledge and experience: as a current Associate Member of the Access to Insurance Initiative (A2ii) Incubation Lab, she joins the Ghanaian Insurance Regulator, together with key industry players, to explore ways in which insurance penetration may be deepened in Ghana. She has attended speaking and panellist sessions at the Ghana Insurance Brokers Association’s 2018 Conference, the Pan-African Bancassurance Conference, 2018 and the 13th Consultative Forum – which was jointly organised by the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) and the A2ii.
Together with the Country Manager of MicroEnsure, Leona is responsible for sales and the top line growth of the company.
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 second 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.
Hafsat Abiola-Costello is an acclaimed human rights and democracy activist. Through her non-profit organisation, the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), Hafsat is building a groundswell of women and youth leaders in Nigeria. Her work is a tribute to her parents, who died in the course of Nigeria’s pro-democracy movement.
Since the age of 19, she has been promoting democracy, gender equality and just global governance through organisations as diverse as the Women in Africa Forum, the World Economic Forum, Gucci’s Chime for Change campaign and the World Future Council. She currently serves as a member of the Ogun State Cabinet, where she advises the Governor on trade and investment. From 2011 to 2015, she was the Special Advisor on MDGs.
She holds a BA (honours) from Harvard College in development economics and a Master’s in international development from Tsinghua. She is married and has two children.
With over 15 years’ experience in programme management and advocacy on governance, peace and reconciliation processes, Firmin Adjahossou has been dedicated to the advancement of social justice through the various non-profit international and research organisations in Africa where he has worked. He is currently working as a Civil Affairs Officer with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), where he is supporting the implementation of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) through peace campaigns, mediation and conflict-resolution mechanisms. Mr Adjahossou’s areas of expertise include development effectiveness, migration and human trafficking, good governance and democratic transition, natural resources, climate change and sustainable development policies.
Until recently, Mr Adjahossou served as Director of Operations of SOPODIVA Training Centre, a regional language centre with offices in Cotonou, Accra and Bamako, which provides intensive English courses for students and professionals from French-speaking countries throughout Africa.
Mr Adjahossou holds two Master’s degrees in Biochemistry and Environmental Management from the University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin; he graduated from the GIZ Global Leadership Academy in 2015 and is a Head Trainer in Junior Chamber International (JCI). Mr Adjahossou was the Campaign and Advocacy Officer at the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) from 2007 to 2016, where he supported the leadership of SECAM at the regional and international levels on peacebuilding and mediation, development policies, public engagement and political dialogue for the promotion of a just and inclusive society.
Before that, he worked with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA-Benin) as a Phytopathology Consultant and as a volunteer with the Institut des Artisans de Justice et de Paix (IAJP-Benin) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
Over the course of his professional career, Mr Adjahossou has been able to create a network that has allowed him to engage in person with more than 36 countries in Africa and beyond and to liaise with the African Union, the European Union and the United Nations. His ability to deal with people ranging from Heads of State, parliamentarians, civil society leaders and religious leaders to members of the public from various parts of Africa has been thoroughly tested on many occasions, including the African Faith Initiative Programme on Post-2015 Development Agendas that he co-facilitated from 2014 to 2015.
As an active member of the Global Diplomacy Lab (GDL) since 2016, Mr Adjahossou was the host of the GDL Accra Incubator Lab held for the first time in Africa and Ghana from 16 to 19 June 2019.
Heba Aguib studied mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Munich, where she acquired her PhD in medical device development. After working for BMW and KARL STORZ, she joined the TU Berlin to establish the first campus of a German university in Egypt, working with industry and government to develop vocational and academic education systems.
She currently heads the Biomedical Engineering and Innovation Laboratory at the Aswan Heart Centre, Magdi Yacoub Foundation (Egypt), where she plays a major role in building its research centre and aiming to advance personalised, translational medicine with a local and global impact. She is also an honorary research fellow of Imperial College London. Driven by a firm belief in sustainable development and capacity building, she consistently utilises a broad spectrum of high-tech engineering and management skills to support and bring together young professionals.
Mr Shakil Ahmad is a scholar working on global diplomacy, global governance, climate change negotiations and track II diplomacy. He teaches at the Foreign Services Academy of Pakistan, where his focuses include digital diplomacy, negotiation skills and conflict transformation. He is also coordinator for the Imagine a New South Asia network of leading think tanks and civil society organisations, which works to mitigate conflicts and pave the way for cooperation.
Shakil also served on the board of the Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA) and has been a member of a government delegation for climate change negotiation at the UNFCCC for the last seven years. Moreover, he works closely with the Foreign Relations and Defense committees in the parliament, and has also established a number of parliamentarian forums such as the Council for Women Parliamentarians and the Non-Muslim Parliamentarians’ Caucus, etc.
Aroub works as a researcher in the international political affairs at the Royal Hashemite Court, Jordan, mainly on Syria and Lebanon, in addition to several other Arab files. After finishing her BA in International Relations (Dublin City University, Ireland) she went on to finish her Masters in Middle Eastern Studies (American University Beirut, Lebanon).
Aroub is very keen on following world affairs. MENA, currently undergoing major changes, transitions as well as conflict, is of particular interest to her. Aroub hopes to always continue learning and making use of others’ expertise and experience so she can better understand the world system, but also tries in any way possible to contribute positively to society and the world at large. In addition, Aroub is very interested in development and conflict resolution.
Khaldun Al Saadi is of Yemeni and German descent. He lived in Yemen from 1993 to 1995, as a child during the Civil War. His memories from that time still motivate him to seek reconciliation through dialogue as a means of restoring peace. From 2012 to 2016 he studied Arabic language and culture at the University of Leipzig. He holds a scholarship from the Heinrich Böll Foundation and graduated from King’s College London with an MA in “Conflict Resolution in Divided Societies”.
Since 2013 he has been a member of the Junge Islam Konferenz (Young Islam Conference), the flagship project of Stiftung Mercator in immigration and integration. He currently works as a project coordinator for the Radicalisation Prevention Centre in the Division for Equality and Integration at the Saxon State Ministry of Social Affairs and Consumer Protection.
Read more about Khaldun in his blog article.
Dima AlArqan was born in Syria in 1980. She has a Master’s degree in International Cooperation and Development. In 2015 she joined the diplomatic service and is serving in the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a diplomatic attaché. However, she has worked in various areas, always with commitment and in a results-oriented way, and has gathered 13 years of interesting and engaging experience in project management in the field of civil society, social work, democracy and human rights.
She has gained professional experience in learning management and capacity development, through working as a manager for the Belgian Development Agency (BTC), civil society specialist for Catholic Relief Services (CRS), head of mission for the French Workers Sports and Gymnastics Federation (FSGT), programme manager for Health Work Committees and adviser to GIZ. The promotion of dialogue and partnership between citizens, civil society organisations, government and the private sector has always been a central focus of her work. She has a strong personal commitment to marginalised and vulnerable communities, such as people with disabilities, young people and women, often in rural areas. As a woman, she attaches great importance to advocacy for diversity and human rights.
In 2014, Dima took part in the 1st Seminar for Palestinian Diplomats organised by the Federal Foreign Office. She looks forward to working further in inclusive diplomacy, in a proactive, reliable and respectful way. She looks forward, moreover, to the continuous learning that comes with such work.
In 2002, he graduated from Sana’a University, political science department. He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2003 as a diplomatic attaché. He was awarded his Master’s in International Politics and Security Studies from the Department of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford, UK, in 2005. He served at Yemen Mission in Vienna during 2007-2011. Between 2011 and 2014, he worked at the Minister's Office as assistant for the Europe and Friends of Yemen files. Since 2014, he assumed the position of chief of staff of the Vice Minister's Office in addition to Secretary of National Committee for Refugee Affairs.
Flávia is a demographer and social entrepreneur who works in the field of education for sustainable development. She is passionate about innovative and interactive learning experiences and understanding how this can help to drive social change at the individual and community level. The learning process in itself is what fascinates her. She is interested in identifying and building networks to shape a new positive narrative around global challenges.
From 2011 to 2017, Flávia worked as a researcher and consultant at Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) – one of the top 10 think tanks in the world. She assisted public, business and third sector organisations in Brazil with the development of projects in the areas of sustainable development, social economy, finance, management and public policy. In 2018, Flávia founded ZEBRALAB, a collaborative space for co-creating innovative solutions to tackle complex global challenges by mainstreaming and implementing the 2030 Agenda. In this field, she works as a consultant at National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology (INMETRO), volunteers at the Federal University of Juiz de For a and acts as a facilitator for national and international training courses and conferences.
Flávia graduated in Economic Sciences and holds a PhD in Demography from the Center for Regional Development and Planning at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil. During her PhD studies, she joined the ESRC Centre for Population Change at the University of Southampton, UK, as a visiting PhD researcher. She is also a fellow of Managing Global Governance (MGG Academy), an initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), implemented by the German Development Institute (DIE).
Amal Al-Ma'aytah is a strong leader yet an ambitious and commited team player. Her strive for excellence led her to pursue the two areas of her interest and graduate top of her class in both her Bachelor of Arts studies in English Language & Journalism and Mass Communication, and her Master’s degree in Diplomatic Studies. Her pursuit of distinction also led her to assume a number of important positions in several major institutions:
She began her career working in communications and dissemination of international humanitarian law at the International Committee of the Red Cross, then moved to work as an international affairs researcher/analyst at the Office of His Majesty King Abdullah II, Regional Communications Manager at Al-Faisaliah Group and currently as the International Affairs and Communications Adviser for the Vice-Chairman of the Jordanian Senate (Upper House of Parliament).
Tarek Alsaleh, half German and half Syrian, has had a life-long passion for sport.
He studied sport science at the University of Cologne and went on to run his own gym in Cologne, Germany, established a real estate agency in Damascus, Syria, and set up two successful and innovative sports and play NGOs. Tarek’s work has been recognised by the BMW Foundation Award for Responsible Leaders 2015, the Anna Lindh Euro-Med Dialogue Award 2015 and Beyond Sport in partnership with UNICEF for Sport for Conflict Resolution 2013 and 2015.
Tarek has always been fascinated by the transformative power of play and its ability to overcome difference.
He is the founder of Capoeira4Refugees a project that uses the sport and art-form of capoeira to provide psychosocial support to vulnerable refugees. Since 2007, Tarek’s capoeira programmes have reached over 50,000 vulnerable children and adolescents in Syria, the Palestinian territories, Jordan and is now scaling.
Learn more about his work in this blog post.
Mohammed Ammash was born to a middle income family in Iraq. He received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Baghdad in 1995.
From the date of his graduation until 1997 he worked for the public sector in his field of study, installing and maintaining central air-conditioning systems. For two years from 1997, he worked in the academic field at the University of Baghdad. While working in academia he started working part time in the private sector, firstly in IT and later in power generation. This continued until 2006 when he became commissar responsible for importing and marketing air conditioner units, electric equipment and power generation sets for the local market and the public sector. In 2006, he rejoined the public sector, working for the Vice President of Iraq as Chief of Staff. In 2007, he moved to the Iraqi Presidency as the Chief of Staff to the Presidency. Since 2009, he has been a senior counsellor and Chief of Staff. From 2007 to 2009 he studied for his M.A. in Strategic Planning at the National Security College of National Defence.
In 2013, he won a Hubert Humphrey fellowship in the United States of America to study public policy analysis and public administration at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.
Houssem Aoudi is a Tunisian entrepreneur with over a decade of experience in media, civic engagement and social innovation.
Houssem is the co-founder and CEO of Cogite Coworking Space, the country’s first coworking community. Cogite is home to a vibrant mix of entrepreneurs, artists, activists and young professionals, and has taken a leading role in cultivating an entrepreneurship community across the country.
Houssem is also founder and CEO of Wasabi, a media and communications company that specialises in creating platforms for community-building and open expression.
In 2014, Houssem was appointed Director of the Media Center for the Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE). Moreover, Houssem co-founded and curates TEDxCarthage, the country’s first and largest TEDx event.
Pascal Atangana was born in 1979. After his BA in German Studies, he attended the International Relations Institute of Cameroon, where he obtained a postgraduate diploma in international relations.
He joined the Ministry of External Relations in 2007, focusing on the Francophonie Department. After three years, he was appointed assistant research officer in the Diplomats’ Careers Management Unit (the Permanent Secretariat).
In 2012, he was awarded an Indian scholarship and obtained an international advanced diploma in human resource planning and development. He took part in the two-month training for German-speaking diplomats in Berlin in 2014. He recently participated in the professional short course at the Vienna Centre for Disarmament and Nuclear Non-Proliferation (3–7 October 2016).
He enjoys reading autobiographies, watching and playing soccer, and travelling.
Ever since the linkage between psychology, politics and civil society has been Sibel’s core interest and a thriving part of both her professional and personal growth. Throughout her studies, she worked for several civil-society organizations (e.g. the Bertelsmann Foundation), non-governmental actors (e.g. Berghof Foundation) and other international organizations (e.g. United Nations) in the areas of civic participation, conflict transformation and mediation.
After her graduation in Political Psychology and International Affairs at Heidelberg and Princeton University, Sibel started her professional career in international affairs with a special focus on peacebuilding, mediation and crisis management (e.g. UNDP). As a political psychologist, she worked as an advisor to the national dialogue and reconciliation process in Lebanon, which helped her to understand the multi-track process of peace practices and trained her to establish peace support infrastructures in post-conflict countries. Since then, Sibel has continuously expanded her regional expertise to Syria, Afghanistan and Turkey (2011-2013). During the last year (2014), Sibel has transfered her capacities in mediation support to the concept of political theater at Berlin’s Maxim Gorki theatre. Responsible for political communication and strategy making, Sibel has gained practical knowledge in tools of political theater to mediate ethno-political conflicts.
Currently, Sibel works as psychotherapist at Humboldt University’s Charité in Berlin. Her expertise lies in the areas of migration, trauma (post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD) and mediation. In this regard, she mainly focuses on mental health issues of incoming refugees.
As a former fellow to the Mercator Fellowship on International Affairs, she engages as active member to the steering committee of the alumni organization nefia e.V. and is thrilled to welcome many alumni to the 3rd GDL.
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.
Tamer graduated from the Faculty of Economics and Political Sciences at Cairo University in 2003. After graduation, Tamer worked for the UNHCR Cairo Office as an Eligibility Assistant for almost a year.
Later on, he joined the Egyptian diplomatic service in 2005, where he first started as a desk officer for Iraq and Jordan. In 2007, he was posted to the Egyptian Embassy in Sudan. In 2010, he was seconded to the Political Secretariat of the Assessment and Evaluation Commission (AEC) – responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between North and South Sudan. He also participated within the AEC in supporting the Post Secession talks between the two countries in Addis Ababa in 2011, led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki. In September 2012, and after a brief stay in Cairo, he took on the post of a Second Secretary/Political Officer at the Egyptian Embassy in Berlin.
In 2013, Tamer took part in the 5th IDP organized by both Federal Foreign Office and BMW Stiftung. His personal hobbies are reading, playing chess and struggling against the German language.
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.
Dulguun Batmunkh is a development cooperation professional and has over seven years of work experience on designing and implementing multi-stakeholder partnership projects. In her current position as the Program Manager of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Mongolia, she focuses on conducting projects that support the effective participation of youth and women in politics through educational programmes and sustainable networking platforms. Furthermore, Dulguun works to strengthen the dialogue between Mongolian and international foreign policy experts through regular foreign policy study projects and international consultation platforms.
Alongside her official work, she has been involved in several youth-led activities of the United Nations and served as the Secretary General of the United Nations Youth Advisory Panel Mongolia from 2013 to 2016. She contributed to the development of the monthly trilateral meeting between the Government of Mongolia, the UN agencies in Mongolia and youth organisations to promote the meaningful participation of young people at the decision-making level. Dulguun is also one of the co-founders of the annual Model UNESCO Mongolia, which aims to provide young people with equal opportunities to learn about practical diplomacy as well as to inspire them to be active and informed global citizens.
Anya Margaret Baum is the founder and Managing Director of The Keryx Group (TKG), an advisory body that works with municipalities in the Smart City field. Since October 2015, she has been the strategic consultant for the City of Warsaw’s Virtual Warsaw project, winner of Bloomberg’s Mayors Challenge.
Anya Baum has a strong background in the Smart Cities field, in both standardisation and public policy. In January 2014, Mrs Baum’s firm was the founding member of the first Smart City Working Group at the Polish Committee for Standardization (PKN). In the EU Commission’s first European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC) from 2012 to 2014, Anya Baum was a member of the Roadmap Group and coordinator of the Smart City Strategy working group. She is a graduate of the College of Europe in Bruges and of INSEAD’s social entrepreneurship programme in Singapore.
Read more about Anya in this article.
Hanina Ben Bernou began working for the EU in 2010 - first addressing complex, global and emerging security threats. Since 2013, she is working on crisis response and crisis preparedness in the highly dynamic environment of Somalia.
Through her previous work experience in the energy and water sector, she has had the opportunity to deepen her understanding of a wide range of topics including renewable energies, supplies, management and private sector participation.
She has a wide interest and practice area including crisis management, development cooperation, diplomacy, energy, human resources, IT, management, radicalisation, security, security-development nexus, stabilisation, and water.
Hanina is a cosmopolitan migrant due to her German-Algerian origins, her French-German education, and her time living and working in Kenya, Somalia, Belgium, France, Spain, and Algeria.
Nina Bernarding is Project Assistant for the Dialogue, Mediation and Peace Support Structures Programme, at the Berghof Foundation in Berlin. Previously she was Mercator Fellow on International Affairs working on peacebuilding in East and Central Africa with a particular focus on political dialogue and natural resource management. During her fellowship, she has worked on a peace process in East Africa and has been engaged in promoting a dialogue-conducive environment in Sudan. Previously, she worked with GIZ in Addis Ababa and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York City.
Nina is a member of the Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research, analysing conflicts between governments and opposition parties in East Africa. She holds a Master’s degree in Conflict, Security and Development from King’s College London and a Bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science from the University of Heidelberg.
Nina is particularly interested in track II diplomacy and in engaging armed groups in peace processes. In her spare time, she enjoys Victorian novels and considering the concepts of fair trade and critical consumption.
After completing a teaching degree (German and Latin literature), Maria lectured at King’s College London and at the University of Heidelberg. At the same time, she volunteered for Studies Without Borders and the Asylarbeitskreis [Asylum Task Force], teaching German to refugees.
Maria then decided to combine the spheres of education and migration. Working for UNHCR, she supported the tertiary education programme DAFI, which enables refugee students all over the world to pursue a university degree in their host country.
As a Mercator fellow, Maria explored the potential of digital technologies for offering free, location- and time-independent higher education.
Right now, Maria works as Curriculum Coordinator for Kiron Open Higher Education – a non-profit organisation in Berlin that offers free higher education for refugees through a blended learning model.
Çiğdem Bozdağ is an Assistant Professor in the Department of New Media at Kadir Has University. Her current research focuses on intercultural networks in schools through the use of new media technologies.
Bozdağ previously worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Stiftung Mercator and as an IPC Fellow at the Istanbul Policy Center of Sabanci University, where she carried out a research project on online school networks between Germany and Turkey. Bozdağ completed her PhD at the University of Bremen in January 2013. In her thesis, she analysed the websites of the Moroccan and Turkish diaspora and their role in ethnic community building within an emerging, mediated social space. From 2008 to 2010, she worked at the same university on the research project Communicative Connectivity of Ethnic Minorities: The Integrative and Segregative Potential of Digital Media for Diasporas. Moreover, she worked on an EU-funded research project entitled ICT and Cultural Diversity: The Potential of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for the Promotion of Cultural Diversity ın the EU.
She received her Bachelor’s degree from Boğaziçi University in the field of political science and international relations. Her Master’s degree is from the University of Bremen in the field of media culture.
Abdallah Brahimi is an alumni fellow of the UN Alliance of Civilizations; he holds a Master’s degree in public policy and urban planning from the University of the Mediterranean Aix-Marseille II, France, in 2009. He successfully completed training programmes on the planning and implementation of new urban development in South Korea and also took part in the country-focused training courses in industrial and urban environmental management in Japan in 2008.
In 2014 Mr Brahimi was selected as a Responsible Leader of the BMW Foundation. He is now Director of Environment and Sustainable Development at the Algerian Industrial Cement Group (GICA group). Prior to that, in early 2011, Mr Brahimi attended the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in New York. He has contributed several public-policy-oriented analysis papers to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
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.
Daniel studied in Freiburg and in Santiago/Chile and received scholarships from the German Academic Scholarship Foundation and the DAAD. In 2007, he obtained a Master of Arts degree at the University of Freiburg. The same year he was accepted by the Postgraduate Programme in International Affairs of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation and the Robert Bosch Foundation. He completed internships at the Federal Foreign Office, the OSCE, and the Int. Crisis Group.
In 2008, Daniel obtained a research fellowship at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik. In 2010, he started his career at GIZ. Since 2015, he has headed the GIZ Global Partnership on Drug Policies and Development, supervising a team in Bangkok, Bogotá and Berlin. Currently, Daniel is also a lecturer at the Freie Universität Berlin. Daniel is married and has two children. Beyond family, he enjoys the opera and classical music, as well as gardening.
Anne-Lorraine Bujon is editorial director at the Institut des Hautes Etudes sur la Justice (IHEJ), where she heads the Conventions programme on regulation and global governance, and an Associate research fellow at Ifri, the French Institute for International Relations.
For the last ten years she has worked with non-profit organisations, where it was possible to combine her interests and expertise in American studies, the dynamics of globalisation, and new modes of knowledge-sharing, collaborative study projects, and the dissemination of ideas. She was previously European director of Humanity in Action, a transatlantic exchange programme focused on human and minority rights, programme coordinator at the French Center on the United States at Ifri, and editorial consultant for the policy planning department of the French Foreign Affairs Ministry. She has authored articles on American political and cultural history in various publications, and teaches at Inalco, the French Institute for Oriental Languages and Cultures.
Anne-Lorraine Bujon is a graduate of Ecole Normale Supérieure, where she majored in American literature.
Shota Bukoshi has been a diplomat at the Embassy of Kosovo in Berlin since 2014. Using her expertise in culture and media, she has developed and executed strategies on establishing and strengthening international relations. She has opened the space within the embassy to cultural events. She plays an active role in Kosovo’s efforts to gain membership in international organisations.
Previously she worked as Kosovo’s programme officer for Pro Helvetia, supporting the local cultural scene. As a cultural manager and consultant for NGOs, she conceptualised and implemented projects, lectures, conferences and workshops with an emphasis on international exchange and capacity building.
Shota is also a prizewinning filmmaker and has produced and directed several short films and documentaries, which use an artistic approach to shed light on social issues.
Gabriela is a specialist on environmental management, sustainable development, public policy and international cooperation. She has more than seven years of work experience on climate change, biodiversity conservation, poverty alleviation and peace. Her work has always involved partnership development, fostering rural and indigenous communities’ dialogues, harmonising financial resources and public policies, multi-level governance coordination, facilitating negotiations and capacity building.
Gabriela works as a consultant to the Global Environmental Facility, the World Bank and the Mexican Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources on developing sustainable productive landscapes in Mexico. She holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Management from Yale University and a Master’s in Peace Studies from Kyung Hee University. She has worked in local and international projects in coordination with governments and international agencies such as GIZ, KfW, FAO, GEF, AECID, JICA, IFAD and UNDP.
She is an advocate and a vibrant communicator who is passionate about developing innovative and inclusive strategies to achieve a more sustainable and equitable world.
Ney was born and raised in Brazil, in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul. At university, he studied languages, literature, economics and political science, among other things.
After a rewarding experience working as an associate professor and completing a Master’s degree in political science, Ney decided to pursue a diplomatic career. As a diplomat, he has had the privilege of serving in Brasília, Berlin and Caracas. He is now back in the Brazilian capital, Brasília, and working in the Department of Human Rights and Social Affairs.
Ney also recently completed a doctorate in philosophy and literature (Freie Universität Berlin). In his free time he enjoys listening to music, reading and travelling with his family.
Carlos Eduardo Cano is a Honduran citizen and 28 years old. With his undergraduate and later Master’s degree in logistics, industrial organisation and business management, it would be reasonable to assume he would find a job as a manager for a production or logistics company.
However, it has always been more natural for him to deal with people rather than processes. So, when he got the opportunity to work in the Consular Section of the Embassy of Honduras in Berlin, he felt extremely comfortable and knew he was in the right place. Although, he must admit that the skills he has applied there ever since his first day, including critical thinking, ease of communication and negotiation, leadership and the ability to create long-lasting relationships with people of all backgrounds and beliefs, were acquired during his studies.
Innovator. Humanitarian. Unlikely change agent. Theresa Carrington is changing the world, having discovered the tipping point from poverty to prosperity, one beautiful basket at a time. What started as her dream to create a sustainable solution to reduce poverty in developing countries evolved into The Blessing Basket Project®. For 12 years the organisation has been quietly discovering and perfecting unique approaches to sustainable poverty reduction, which Theresa is now ready to share with the world. In the process, she has helped to create sustainable prosperity for more than 10,000 people in the last decade.
Theresa Carrington, founder and CEO of the Blessing Basket Project®, recognised that the key to helping people emerge from impoverishment to financial independence is igniting their entrepreneurial spirit by providing them with a launching pad. This is how the world changes.
Marty Castro is the 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.
In 2011, President Barack Obama appointed Mr Castro to a six-year term on the United States Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) and nominated Mr Castro as 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 honorary doctorates in Humane Letters from Roosevelt University and DePaul University. He received his Bachelor’s in Political Science from DePaul University and his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Michigan Law School.
Elif Çavuşlu is an EU affairs expert based in Brussels. She currently works as a consultant to the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development. Prior to this, she served at the Ministry for European Union Affairs (MEU) of the Republic of Turkey for eight years, where she began her civil service career in 2010. She also worked at the European Parliament as a Pat Cox Fellow and at the European Commission as a National Expert in Professional Training.
As the co-founder and co-director of Roman Medya, she is actively involved in issues concerning human rights, anti-discrimination and Roma rights in Turkish civil society. Ms Çavuşlu holds a BA in Social and Political Science from Sabancı University and an MA in EU Foreign Policy and Security Issues from the University of Warwick, which she attended with a Jean Monnet Scholarship.
Brisa has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in International Relations from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), as well as a specialisation in Global Governance from the German Development Institute (DIE).
In the past ten years, she has collaborated with various institutions of civil society, academia and international development cooperation on projects related to such topics as strengthening civil society organisations, good governance, migration and NGOs diplomacy. 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 and academic articles about fair trade, migration, NGOs diplomacy and multi-stakeholder dialogues.
She currently works at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) office in Mexico, as a consultant for resources and alliances mobilization.
He is an Albanian political scientist and former diplomat. He studied political sciences, history and philosophy at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Münster, Germany, graduating in 2005 with an M.A. in International Relations with a thesis on “The future status of Kosovo. Actors, positions, options”.
Since then, Egin's research and teaching experience has included a Herder Scholarship at the Alfred-Toepfer-Foundation (2005), a Robert-Bosch-Fellowship at the IWM in Vienna (2007), research and teaching positions at the University of Vienna (2008, 2009, 2015, 2016), and participation in the Transformation Thinkers Conference in Berlin (2008).
His expertise lies in topics such as transitional justice, political parties, the state-church relationship and media literacy with special focus on South Eastern Europe.
Egin has also worked as an Albanian diplomat in Vienna (2008-2013).
Prof. Chabrak from United Arab Emirates University is UAE team leader for the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor programme and CEO of the UAEU Science & Innovation Park. She is in charge of the university pavilion for Dubai Expo 2020 and was coordinator of the Dubai Decleration for sustainable finance, an initiative of UNEP FI. She is passionate about creating values-driven start-ups and ecosystem conditions for a new quality of growth to eradicate poverty and promote inclusiveness as conditions for fighting radicalisation.
She has created several success stories and youth role models, many of which have won prizes including the Mohamed Bin Rashid Award for the best university promoting entrepreneurship (2018), the Global Pitch@Palace People Award (2017), a special mention from the jury of the Falling Walls Venture (2017), and the Singularity University MENA Global Impact Challenge (2017).
Her research focuses on governance for sustainability and quality of life. She is currently coordinating research projects on the design of sustainable financial systems and on the wellbeing of visually impaired students. She teaches accounting, corporate governance, CSR, entrepreneurship and innovation.
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.
Silvia Danielak is currently pursuing graduate studies at the Harvard Graduate School of Design with a special focus on architecture and socio-spatial urban planning in the context of conflicts, structural violence and post-conflict reconstruction. Her research explores spatialised approaches to conflict transformation in Johannesburg.
Previously, Silvia worked for more than three years for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, serving as a conflict prevention advisor to the African Union Border Programme, based in Addis Ababa. Prior to moving to Ethiopia, she was a Mercator Fellow working on multi-track diplomacy and mediation for UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, UNDP Kyrgyzstan, and for the HD Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in Geneva. Silvia holds an MA in international security from Sciences Po Paris and a BA in European studies from Maastricht University.
Learn more about Silvia in her blog post.
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.
Ciara is a certified Career & Business Coach with expertise in public relations, economic negotiations and cultural diplomacy. As former British diplomat with over a decade of international experience in business and government negotiations, she brings broad knowledge of intercultural, political, economic and technological developments to her work. Ciara has trained at Ashridge Business School and is a certified member of the QRC federation of coaches and consultants. She has also worked as a graduate mentor and career development coach for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. Today, Ciara draws on her wide-ranging experience and personal insight to both enable clients to create careers and businesses that are aligned with their values and bring the highest form of expression to their skills and talents.
Born in 1978 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. MA in Economics from the Saint Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance. More than 10 years’ professional experience of working with Russian and international media. Reuters Foundation fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Oxford University (2006). Participant in the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) at the University of California, Berkeley (2012). Since 2006 – project manager with the German-Russian Exchange, since 2011 – director of the German-Russian Office of Environmental Information. Since 2008 – observer of the UN climate negotiation process (UNFCCC). Teaches at the Faculty of Journalism, Saint Petersburg State University.
Interests: global environmental and climate policy, sustainable development, the green economy, civil society organizations and initiatives, trends in global and new media.
It could be said that Anna’s first foray into diplomatic life began when she was 17 years old as a Rotary youth exchange student and “ambassadress of goodwill” for the Philippines in Brazil. She again represented her country in the Georgia Rotary Student Program and was granted an MBA scholarship in Georgia, USA.
In 1997, after working in advertising in New York City, she returned to Manila and worked briefly as the marketing officer of the Institute on Church and Social Issues, a Jesuit-based research and advocacy non-governmental organization, before pursuing her law studies. After passing the exam, she worked as a litigation lawyer for three years. In 2006, Anna took and passed the Philippine foreign service exams, and joined the ministry the following year as an acting director in the Office of Legal Affairs. Her first foreign assignment was as third secretary and vice-consul in the Philippine Embassy in Berlin, where she handled political and administrative matters. After four years, she was cross-posted to the Philippine Embassy and Permanent Mission in Vienna, where she dealt with multilateral issues. Anna participated in the German Federal Foreign Office’s 2nd International Diplomats Programme (Berlin, 2010) and the BMW Foundation’s 9th Europe-Asia Young Leaders Forum (London, 2012).
Anna is newly married (her spouse is German and also a lawyer) and is currently on leave from the foreign service to care for her baby daughter full time. She is based in Essen, Germany.
Bert de Wilde is currently working in the European Integration Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands. Previously he worked at the Dutch Embassies in Berlin, Germany, and Accra, Ghana, as well as in the North Africa and Middle East Department of the ministry.
Bert is currently working in the field of European integration, which attracted his interest when he was studying in Berlin (Erasmus) and working in the European Parliament. He is especially interested in outside perceptions of the EU and perceptions of the EU within the Union. Is the EU a model for others and why or why not? Bert hopes to find some answers to these questions through the Global Diplomacy Lab and is looking forward to reflecting on the way we want to cooperate in the 21th century.
Elsa Marie D’Silva is the founder and Managing Director 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.
Reham Elgebaly is a co-founder and gender mainstreaming and education consultant at SEDAQ. Holding a master’s degree in child rights from Lund University, Sweden, she is responsible for planning, implementing, monitoring, evaluating and reporting on a number of training courses on development and empowerment of marginalised communities.
She is also active in organising various awareness-raising programmes at youth camps and social events, disseminating gender equality principles, fighting violence and providing assistance in evaluating partners’ activities. She carried out field work activities and support campaigns focused on women’s political participation and coordinates voter educational and voter training programmes in Egypt’s poorer and marginalised areas.
Living in a tribal community, she works as a peace builder and mediator mainly in the absence of peace and stability.
Seçil Paçacı Elitok received her PhD in Economics from the University of Utah (USA) in 2008. From 2009 to 2011, she worked for the Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI) as a Marie Curie Fellow as part of the EU Marie Curie Research Training Network TOM (Transnationality of Migrants).
From 2012 to 2013, she worked as a Mercator-IPC Fellow at Istanbul Policy Center (IPC), Sabancı University, on a research project entitled “The Role of Migration in EU/German-Turkish Relations”. She taught a course on the politics of migration at Sabancı University and worked as a consultant to the World Bank on international mobility research projects.
Her main research interests are international migration, with a specific focus on migration from and to Turkey, as well as high-skilled migration, return migration and remittances.
She obtained her associate professorship in March 2016.
Dr Elitok is currently working as a visiting adjunct professor at CERES (Center for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies) at Michigan State University.
Onur Eryüce has worked to strengthen political and cultural ties between Turkey and the European Union in defiance of a challenging political environment.
In 2011, he played a pivotal role in the foundation of the Association of Social Democratic Municipalities (SODEM), which was set up to foster strategic partnerships among Turkish municipal leaders and their European counterparts, thus bolstering the position of Turkish municipalities in the EU accession process. Under Onur’s management, the organisation has grown to 130 member municipalities, representing more than 15 million people, and has successfully contributed to EU-Turkey collaboration on issues at the municipal level.
He is responsible for setting up and furthering political, social, cultural and economic dialogue between the member municipalities and their European and international counterparts.
Adi Farjon Israel is a diplomat of the State of Israel.
She was recently appointed to the North American division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where she leads the Israel - Canada relations desk under her portfolio. From 2014 to 2018 she has been the spokesperson of the Embassy of Israel in Berlin where she gained vast knowledge and experience in German and European media analysis, public relations and profound understanding of current socio-political European affairs. From 2013 to 2014 Adi was posted as First Secretary and Consul in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. From 2011 to 2013 she worked as a desk officer for the International Organisations Department, the Eurasia Department and the Latin America Department.
She started her career as a young professional in the NGO sector, where in her last position she was project manager in the Israel Center for Civil Society. Adi earned a BA in Art and Film History and French Culture from Tel Aviv University. She then continued her education during her graduate studies, earning a MA in 2007 from Tel Aviv University in the field of Culture Research, with a thesis on intercultural trends and integration and acculturation of young immigrants in Germany. For many years she volunteered in Tel-Aviv Rape Crisis Center, mentoring and educating teenagers with the goal of preventing sexual assaults and conducted empowerment workshops for women and girls. Lately Adi became the head of the "Woman in Diplomacy Network" of the Israeli ministry of Foreign Affairs, with responsibility of creating, organizing and conducting meaningful network meetings for Israeli and foreign diplomats posted in Israel.
Adi Farjon Israel is married and is a proud mother to Omer and Dan.
Liana Fix is a doctoral fellow at the Eastern Europe and Eurasia division at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP).
Previously, she was affiliated to the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). In 2012/13, she was a Mercator Fellow in International Affairs, working on European and transatlantic policy toward Russia at the German Foreign Office, the Carnegie Moscow Center and the EU Delegation in Georgia. She also worked as a programme assistant for the Körber Foundation's International Affairs Department in Berlin.
Ms Fix holds a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science and is chairperson of the "nefia" alumni network of the Mercator Fellowship on International Affairs and the former Robert Bosch Stiftungskolleg.
She plays the piano and is passionate about travelling to the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
Assistant Director at the Montreal Institute of International Studies (IEIM) based at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), Kim has over 15 years of experience in international relations.
She was political adviser to the Minister of Culture and Communications of Quebec (2003-2007) and worked at the Canadian Embassy in Vienna (1999-2001).
She is currently completing a Ph.D in Political Science. Her research focuses on trade agreements, especially the trade-culture-telecommunication nexus.
A graduate from McGill University, she has presented academic papers in the United States, Spain and Canada and conducted seminars on culture and international relations, as well as on international political economy.
She co-edited a book (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) on the impact of globalisation and new technologies on emerging forms of global governance.
Nicola Forster is the Founding President of the Swiss crowdsourced think tank foraus (Forum Aussenpolitik) as well as a social entrepreneur and public sector innovator. He is a co-founder of the political movement Operation Libero, the German grass-roots think tank Polis180, several foraus spinoffs around the globe, the staatslabor as well as the Global Diplomacy Lab. With his innovation consultancy crstl.io, Nicola advises different foundations, international think tanks and foreign ministries on creative formats and strategic innovation. He is the Founding Curator of the Global Shapers Bern Hub (World Economic Forum) and sits on the boards of the WEF Open Forum Davos, Fondation Science et Cité (as Vice President), Law and Economics Club as well as Foundation Jean Monnet pour l’Europe. Nicola is a Swiss Ashoka Fellow and Mercator Fellow. He has been ranked among the top 99 foreign policy leaders under 33 by The Diplomatic Courier. Nicola regularly contributes to Swiss and international media and is a frequent keynote speaker, panelist and moderator (e.g. with the Open Situation Rooms design thinking format).
Nicola holds a degree in law (lic.iur./MLaw) and has studied in Zurich, Montpellier and Lausanne. He is currently based in New York, Berlin and Switzerland and has lived in a wide range of countries, including Ethiopia, Russia, Australia and Belgium.
A born storyteller and creative problem solver, Chris was raised near Syracuse University in New York, where he later earned his MBA. He has over 15 years of experience in creative professional services and nearly ten in digital marketing and strategic communications, with experience spanning across creative agencies, start-ups and the foundation/NGO space. In that time, he has led engagements with clients such as the ONE Campaign, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, Case Foundation, Marriott, Rosetta Stone and Brooks Brothers.
Chris serves on the board of The New American Leaders Project, which is leading a national movement for inclusive democracy by empowering first- and second-generation Americans to progress from the community to the capital. He is also a board member of the Self-Portrait Project, is the national (US) Chapter Head of the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Network, and is a Charter Member of the Transatlantic Core Group.
Chris and his partner Jennifer Herrera live in Fairfax County, Virginia, with their two daughters.
Tibi Galis has been the Executive Director of AIPR since 2006.
Born and raised in Romania, he obtained a B.A. in Law and Political Science from Babes-Bolyai University, in Cluj-Napoca. He received an M.A. in International Politics and Political Development from the University of Manchester, and obtained a Ph.D. from the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University, with a focus on transitional justice.
Previously, Galis worked as an Associate Researcher for the UK Parliament, helping develop the UK position with regard to the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, and as rapporteur for the Swedish Government at the 2004 Stockholm International Forum on the Prevention of Genocide.
Bettina Gardner is an international trade professional with expertise in international exchange programme planning and execution. Bettina Gardner has planned numerous international exchanges for the City of Atlanta under Mayor Kasim Reed. She has organised C-level missions abroad to events such as the Smart City Expo Barcelona, the FinTech Mission to London and the World Cities Summit Singapore.
She served on the Atlanta steering committee for the Global Cities Initiative and as the liaison for route recruitment for the world’s busiest airport, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Additional global exchange experience includes work for the Mandela Washington Fellowship at Clark Atlanta University, the Georgia Department of Agriculture, trade mission planning, and programmes for numerous global business schools and MBA programmes. She is a 2017 Bosch Fellow.
Laura Gardner is a Senior Attorney with the US Department of Commerce's Chief Counsel for International Commerce, where she focuses on a variety of international investment-related issues as well as trade in services (including e-commerce and privacy).
Laura was a Bosch Fellow from 2014-15, focusing on international trade policy, including data privacy issues, with work placements at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and at Google Germany.
Prior to her work at the US Department of Commerce, Laura worked at the McDermott Will & Emery law firm.
Laura holds a J.D. from the University of Virginia, an MA in International Law from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and completed her undergraduate degree in International Studies at the University of Chicago.
Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, in her free time Laura enjoys stand-up comedy, theatre and bocce.
Gordana Gavrilović has been working as an advisor at the Serbian Deputy Prime Minister’s office since 2015. Her work focuses on gender equality issues and external communication.
In 2014, she worked as a project coordinator at the Podgorica (Montenegro) office of Serbia’s oldest cultural-scientific institution, Matica Srpska. In 2013, she was an associate at the Serbian Chamber of Commerce in Croatia. From 2008 to 2012, she worked at the Office of the President of Serbia as an expert associate of the Advisor to the President.
She started her career in 2006 at the People’s Office of the President of the Republic. From 2006 to 2013, she was a coordinator at the humanitarian organisation, Our Serbia, which runs projects that help to look after children who lost one or both parents during the wars in former Yugoslavia. As a participant of the Fellowship Programme for Young Government Officials from the Western Balkans, Gordana was an exchange civil servant of the Training for International Diplomats programme at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin in 2016, supporting the Global Diplomacy Lab for three months.
She is a graduate of the Faculty of Psychology, University of Belgrade, and of the Diplomatic Academy at Serbia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Kuros Ghaffari is a press officer at the U.S. Department of State, responsible for outreach to traditional and digital media outlets. He previously worked in the department's public diplomacy bureau, where he produced interactive content to communicate U.S. policies to a global audience.
Kuros began his career at the German Marshall Fund of the United States in Washington. He then moved to Berlin as a fellow of the Robert Bosch Foundation, with placements at the Alfred Herrhausen Society and the German Foreign Office. Having fallen in love with German culture and cuisine, he continued to work in Berlin as a communications consultant for a number of years.
Kuros holds a master's degree in international affairs from the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University and a bachelor's degree in communications from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Blair Glencorse is Founder and Executive Director of the Accountability Lab, an incubator for creative, youth-driven ideas for accountability and transparency around the world.
Blair is also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Anti-Corruption and Transparency.
Previously, Blair was a Social Impact Fellow at the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania, an advisor to the now President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, and worked for the World Bank on issues of governance and development.
He is an Echoing Green Fellow and winner of the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Award, the World Technology Award and the D-Prize.
Sérgio António Gomes da Silva has a degree in law and postgraduate qualifications in public management. He has been a civil servant since 2001. Since 2008, he has held the post of Head of Department of International Relations, Advisory, Conception and Evaluation of Public Policies at the Portuguese Media Public Policies Office.
In 2002 he did a short-term traineeship at the Council of Europe and in 2007, he worked in the German Federal Ministry of the Interior as a fellow of the Robert Bosch Stiftung Bellevue Programme. He has experience as a lecturer in good governance. Additionally, he has many years of experience in collaborating with social and civic organisations. He has held several posts in the Portuguese Association of the Blind and is presently rapporteur of the Group on Citizenship and Participation of the Portuguese think tank Platform for Sustainable Growth.
Born in Slovenia 40 years ago, Peter Grk is currently serving as Secretary General of the Bled Strategic Forum and National Coordinator for the Western Balkans at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia. With 16 years of experience in the diplomatic service, Peter Grk has held posts in Ankara, Copenhagen and Brussels. During Slovenia’s EU Presidency (2008), he served as Chair of the Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management (CIVCOM).
He was also posted to New York (2011) as Political Coordinator at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Slovenia to the UN and served as an advisor in the Cabinet of the Foreign Minister of Slovenia (2009 to 2011) and as Chief Foreign Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister of Slovenia (2013 to 2014). Peter Grk likes to read, play basketball and discover the world with his family.
Read more about his work here.
Sezen Gücüş-Tidim works in the humanitarian aid sector with Syrian refugees in Turkey and IDPs in northern Syria. She obtained her MA in political science from the University of Warsaw, Poland, and was an exchange student in the European studies MA programme at Trinity College Dublin.
She received her undergraduate degree in political science and public administration from Middle East Technical University (Ankara). Her fields of interest are nationalism, ethnic conflict, discrimination, Turkish politics and Western European politics.
She has been working in the Office of HM Queen Rania of Jordan for 9 years. She is Global Outreach Manager, in charge of the Queen’s international engagements and relations.
She holds a MA in Intercultural Communication and European Studies from Hochschule Fulda, Germany. She speaks Arabic, English and German fluently.
Besides her career, she is very interested in the global intercultural discourse and has participated in many courses and workshops, including: Civil Service Development Programme at Sandhurst Academy in the UK in 2015, one-month parliament scholarship at the German Bundestag in 2014 (including a one-week placement in the Office of Foreign Minister Steinmeier) and a two-week Summer School at the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin in 2008 themed “Regional Leaders & Global Challenges”. She also represented Jordan at the UN Global Youth Leadership Summit in New York in 2006.
Dominik Hartmann is a development economist and “knowledge nomad”. His passion is to create interdisciplinary bridges and his fascination for different cultures has driven him to study, research and work in countries as diverse as Germany, Spain, Peru, Brazil, England, the Netherlands, Turkey and the USA.
Dominik’s research explores the complex relations between innovation, structural change and income inequality. He uses network analysis and data visualization tools to reveal the ways individuals are embedded in dynamic economies and how network structures affect their opportunities to be active and creative members of society.
Currently Dominik is a post-doctoral fellow in the Macro Connections Group at the MIT Media Lab (USA) and a research fellow at the University of Hohenheim (Germany). From 2014-2016, he holds a EU Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship.
Tarek Mohamed Hassan is a strategic designer focusing on innovation, entrepreneurship and social justice. He trained as a facilitator with the German UNESCO Commission and has been working in the field of organisational development, social justice and diversity since 2015.
Tarek founded the social start-up “Queer Refugees Network Leipzig” and was awarded the RAHM Global LGBTIQ+ Leadership Award 2018. He was trained in design thinking at the School of Design Thinking at the Hasso-Plattner-Institut and empowers organisations such as Telekom, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the Norwegian Refugee Council and others in the area of strategic innovation development.
As a partner with the consulting firm CONSTELLATIONS International, Tarek has been working in China and Germany since 2016 on the topics of start-ups and entrepreneurship for organisations such as the Berlin Senate, Stiftung Mercator and KPMG. He works part-time in the innovation management department of the Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the state-owned consulting company that mainly advises the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. As an innovation manager at the think tank “Generation Why”, Tarek seeks to develop new formats and modes of collaboration to reach the Sustainable Development Goals using flexible approaches.
Sebastian Haug is a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge, where his research focuses on the positions and roles of so-called ‘rising powers’ in global development governance.
Prior to moving to Cambridge, Sebastian worked with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in China and then in Mexico, where he was in charge of UNDP’s South-South cooperation and strategic partnerships portfolios.
As a former Mercator Fellow on International Affairs, Sebastian studied political science and international relations in Paris, St Andrews and Berlin. He holds a Vice-Chancellor’s Award from the University of Cambridge and a Master of Science from the University of Oxford.
Having grown up in the Black Forest, Germany, in the 1980s, Harald Herrmann decided to embark on a journey of literary exploration by studying comparative literature in Munich, Germany, and took part in an Erasmus exchange in Caen, France, until 2003. He gained further global experience through travel and work abroad.
After completing a post-grad master in international economic relations at Andrássy University Budapest, Hungary, between 2004 and 2006, as well as internships in Slovakia and Kazakhstan, he found a job in Berlin dealing with US-German relations and, one year later, in 2008, joined the German Foreign Service. He has served in Kyiv, Ukraine, and at the headquarters in Berlin. He is currently posted to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he works as a cultural attaché. In his spare time, he plays music, reads, and goes hiking and rowing.
Ahmed Ibraheem joined the Egyptian diplomatic corps in 2012. He specialises in economics, regional cooperation, sustainability, energy, climate action and European affairs. His diplomatic career has made him well-versed in intergovernmental work on sustainable development, energy and climate change, not to mention EuroMED relations. He currently works at the European Affairs Department, focusing on various aspects of cooperation with the European Union.
Ahmed started his career as a young professional in the private sector, where he developed skills that continue to stand him in good stead. Through his academic studies, he has become conversant with various policy aspects of energy and environmental protection, particularly economics, policy, law and regulation.
Ms Amarachi Adannaya Igboegwu is a learning strategist whose interests include behaviour change communication, lifelong learning and responsive classroom methodologies.
An expert trainer, Ms Igboegwu has coordinated national training programmes as a Master Trainer for the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo under the World Bank funded Performance Based Financing project to strengthen health systems.
Motivated by the role education plays in society, Ms Igboegwu will be commencing her doctoral studies this autumn (2015) at the Faculty of Behaviour and Cultural Studies at Heidelberg University to research the impact of the Responsive Classroom Approach on learning and social skills outcomes among minority-predominant elementary schools in Germany.
Nnaemeka Chidiebere Ikegwuonu is a farmer, innovator, leading social entrepreneur, and Executive Director of The Smallholders Foundation, a social development organisation based in Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria. The organisation uses educational radio programmes and field practical demonstrations to inform, educate and improve the livelihoods of poor rural smallholder farmers.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and International Studies from Imo State University, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria. He received his Master’s degree in Development and Cooperation from the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Pavia, Italy. He is an Ashoka Fellow, Laureate of the Rolex Awards for Enterprise, Nigeria’s Young Person of the Year 2011, and was listed as one of the 100 Most Creative People in the World by Fast Company USA. Moreover, he is a winner of the German Government’s Green Talent Awards 2011 and a Laureate of the Niigata International Food Prize, Japan. Nnameka is a Laureate of the prestigious Yara Prize for Green Revolution in Africa.
Chuliepote Isarankura, born in 1974 in Bangkok, received a Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts from Thammasat University in Bangkok and a Master’s degree in International Studies from the University of Sydney. She served her country abroad as Second Secretary at the Royal Thai Embassy in Tel Aviv (2000-2004) and First Secretary in Berlin (2006-2010) respectively.
During 2012-2013, she was the Head of the Business Liaison Unit in the Department of International Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand and responsible for organizing business activities for the business delegation accompanying the Prime Minister of Thailand on official trips overseas. During March and September 2014, she was assigned Head of the Khon Kaen Passport Office and in charge of administering passport applications for Thais living in and around the Khon Kaen Province. In addition, she was assisting Khon Kaen Province with external affairs, particularly establishing and strengthening relations with foreign countries and cities. Chuliepote is currently seconded to the Office of the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, responsible for coordinating foreign policy issues and their implementation.
Chuliepote enjoys hosting Thai radio programmes like the “Window into the World for Youth” and “Young Ambassadors of Virtue On Air“ on the Saranrom Radio Station together with her colleagues during her free time. She also enjoys taking part in the volunteer work of the Young Ambassador of Virtue Foundation, which is a non-profit organization funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand.
She is an assistant professor for biology. She worked on the role of human papillomavirus and Chlamydia trachomatics infections for cervical abnormalities in the West Bank, as well as on the distribution of B virus among high-risk groups. She was involved in a vaccination programme in northern Palestine.
In October 2012, she became an elected member of the municipality and vice mayor of Jenin. She participated in the Global Leadership Academy’s Passion and Politics Lab which was very helpful when it comes to dealing with different opinions and emotional discussions. During the Lab, she started a change project called ‘Societal Accountability’.
She also worked on three education projects. She is a manager for Deep Democracy Institute at Oregon, three-year programme process-oriented Leadership (2007 till now).
She held administrative positions at the Arab American University in Jenin as vice president of planning and development and head of biology department.
Kebba-Omar Jagne is currently working in the United Nations Development Program in Gambia as Accelerator Lab Lead and Head of Experimentation. He is the founder and CEO of the Making Our Visions and Aspirations Reality (MOVAAR) Group, an educational technology scale-up and a CIVICUS member. He also managed Gateways boutique consultancy.
Omar served in US government as the Economic/Commercial Specialist at the US Embassy in Banjul, the Gambia and during that time helped to set up the first private think tank in the Gambia, known as the Forum for the Exchange of Ideas for Development (FOREID). Omar served as the inaugural Next Einstein Forum Country Ambassador for Science and Technology for the Gambia (2016) and was previously a Young Fellow for the World Islamic Economic Forum (2015) and the Global Economic Symposium (2015). He is also a Global Diplomacy Labs Member.
Omar holds an MSc in Science, Technology and Innovation Studies from the University of Sussex, UK and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science from Hofstra University, USA. He aspires to create platforms that communities can use to uplift voices from within.
Since September 2019 Peter is the Slowenian Ambassador to Albania. Previously he served as an adviser in the office of the State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, a position he took after finishing his mandate in Brussels, where he was the Slovenian representative to the RELEX working party, which is in charge of the legal, financial and institutional affairs of the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy. His previous postings were to Vienna and Berlin, and he has held various assignments in the Foreign Ministry in Ljubljana.
During his career, he has dealt with, to name a few examples, international treaties, UN agencies in Vienna, secession after the dissolution of former Yugoslavia, minority questions and the fight against terrorism. In 2008, while posted in Germany, he was involved in most activities of the local Slovenian Presidency and the Trio Presidency of the European Council.
In 1997, he attended a four-month programme of the German Federal Foreign Office for diplomats from Central and Eastern Europe, and in 2006, he was a participant in the first generation of the Diplomatenkolleg, which was organized by the German Federal Foreign Office, the German Council on Foreign Relations and the Robert Bosch Foundation.
Peter joined the Slovenian Foreign Ministry in 1996 after finishing his law studies in Ljubljana. His passion is nature and environmental issues, and he loves to ski. Other active interests include art history and drawing.
Julia Jaroschewski is a reporter and founder of Buzzing Cities Lab, a think tank focusing on digital technology and security in informal settlements such as the Favelas in Rio. She works for Die WELT, Spiegel Online, fluter and WIRED, covering mainly foreign politics, organised crime, the war on drugs and security policy. She studied in Portugal, has an MA in political sciences from Berlin and has worked for the UN in New York and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in Mozambique.
Julia has attended the Axel Springer Akademie and Columbia School of Journalism. As a fellow of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation and the Besser-Stiftung she reported from Brazil and South Africa, and from Mozambique as a scholar working for Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung. In 2016 she was part of the international journalism programme for South America, working for the Brazilian newspaper O Globo. She has also spent three months in India as a Media Ambassador for the Robert Bosch Stiftung.
Dr Hans-Christian Jasch is a lawyer and legal historian by training. He worked in the Federal Ministry of the Interior and for the European Commission in the field of preventing radicalisation and terrorism before being appointed as the new Director of the Berlin Holocaust Memorial House of the Wannsee Conference in May 2014.
He has been a Fellow of the Bellevue-Programme of the Robert Bosch Foundation and the Federal President's Office in 2005/2006 and worked in Italy on issues such as migration and dialogue with Islam. Bringing people together and engaging them in dialogue, notably on issues such as transitional justice, dealing with a dictatorial past and looking at issues of identity have been of key-importance during his entire professional career.
Ludwig Jung is currently training to become a career diplomat at the Foreign Service Academy in Berlin.
Previously, he worked for the World Bank’s Development Research Group as part of the Mercator Fellowship on International Affairs. As a Fulbright and DAAD-Fellow at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, he received his Master’s in International Relations. During his graduate studies, he focused on transatlantic security relations and development policy in fragile states. He is particularly interested in how civil society shapes foreign policy agendas.
As part of the Atlantic Council’s Next Generation Project, he co-authored a report on the future of German-American relations.
Ludwig has prior work experience with the German Federal Foreign Office and the German Development Ministry, as well as with the Council on Foreign Relations and the Brookings Institution.
Szilvia Kalmár has dealt with EU issues throughout her professional life. She is passionate about international cooperation and considers the European project to be unique in the depth of integration reached among sovereign states. This made her keen to find out how integration was achieved. She holds an MA in International Relations from Corvinus University of Budapest. After her studies, she spent a few months as a trainee in the European Commission, Europe Direct, before becoming a journalist at the Europe-wide information network, EurActiv, where she wrote and edited articles for the Hungarian website.
Her career as a diplomat began in 2010 when she joined the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Her first position was as a member of the editorial team of the official website of the Hungarian EU Presidency. After this, she worked as a member of the EU policy coordination team.
Since 2013 she has been the EU attachée at the Hungarian Embassy in Berlin.
Amel Karboul is Secretary-General of the Maghreb Economic Forum (MEF) and Commissioner of the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity.
Amel is a social activist, entrepreneur, author and politician.
She holds an honours Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany, and a Doctorate in Coaching and Mentoring from Oxford Brookes University, UK.
She has previously held leadership roles in DaimlerChrysler and senior consultant roles at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Visiting professor at DukeCE.
She served as Minister of Tourism in the Tunisian transitional government until February 2015 and was nominated as one of ten leading young African politicians (Jeune Afrique).
She recently published her latest book “Coffin Corner”, which describes a new leadership culture suited to the complexity and dynamics of the 21st century. www.karboul.com
Hope Kasedde is a human resource professional and a social entrepreneur. She is the Executive Director of the Kampala Open Spaces Initiative, a non-governmental organisation aiming to restore and defend public spaces for well-being. She started the organisation to help create green jobs for young people, including those with a very basic education, and to protect nature. Hope wants to mentor young women and encourage them to do more and be more for their communities.
Previously, Hope worked as a researcher at ACODE - Uganda’s number one public policy think tank, as a Human Resource Associate, and at the National Social Security Fund. Hope is committed to leadership development, environmental protection, the empowerment of women, girls’ education, and human rights law and children’s affairs. Hope is a champion of change and believes that collaboration and diplomacy are at the heart of solutions to the problems engulfing humanity.
Matthias joined the German Foreign Service last year and will be posted to the German Embassy in Beijing as Deputy Head of the Press Section in July. Previously, he was a Senior Program Manager at the Mercator Program Center for International Affairs (MPC), an NGO based in Essen, Germany.
Prior, Matthias had been awarded a Mercator Fellowship on International Affairs, during which he worked on EU-China diplomacy at the European External Action Service (EEAS) in Brussels and, subsequently, on governance cooperation with China at UNDP in Beijing. He specialised in East Asian Studies, Politics and History at the University of Heidelberg, including semesters abroad in Beijing and Hong Kong, before taking up graduate studies in International Relations at Sciences Po Paris, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Harvard Kennedy School.
In his spare time, he enjoys making music (in particular a cappella ensemble singing) and is passionate about architectural history and urban planning.
Salam is the Deputy Director of Arab Reform Initiative.
He is President of the Initiative for a New Syria, a board member of The Day After association, a Senior Fellow of the Centre for Syrian Studies at the University of St Andrews and a member of the Consultative Council of the Mediterranean Citizens’ Assembly.
He is also a member of the Advisory Committee of the UNU Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility, and teaches in the Masters programme on Development and Migration at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.
From 2009 to 2011, he was a principal researcher at the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Amsterdam, and he was director of the Institut Français du Proche Orient (IFPO) in Aleppo, Syria, from 2000 to 2006.
He holds a DEA in political sciences from l’Institut d’Etudes Politiques, Aix-En-Provence, and a DEA in international relations and a BA in economics from the University of Aleppo.
Dr Daphne Keilmann-Gondhalekar is a US and a German national with a strong interest in urban environmental issues.
She is an urban planner currently working at the Technical University of Munich, Germany, as Member, International Expert Group on Earth System Preservation (IESP), Institute for Advanced Study and Visiting Scientist, Chair of Urban Water Systems Engineering.
She holds a PhD in Urban Planning from the University of Tokyo, Japan (2007), a Master’s in Architecture and Urban Design from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Switzerland (2002) and a Bachelor of Architecture with Honours, from the Mackintosh School of Architecture, University of Glasgow, Scotland (1998).
She has worked as a Postdoctoral Associate at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, USA, and as a Senior Researcher at the Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany.
Ankit Khanal is a Political Affairs Officer at the United Nations Department of Political Affairs (UNDPA) in New York. Prior to joining UNDPA, he worked as a Human Rights Officer at Community Solutions Initiative - Nepal. He has more than five years of experience with international organisations, INGOs and NGOs, including the United Nations, the Carter Center and the European Union at national and international level, focusing on promoting human rights, peacebuilding, women’s empowerment, good governance and violence prevention.
Ankit has experience in engaging a wide range of stakeholders from the grassroots level up to national level and has in-depth knowledge of Nepal and South Asia. Ankit holds a MA in International Relations from the University of Northampton, UK.
Josiane Khoury holds a Master of Public Health degree from the American University of Beirut. After working in Lebanon on several projects, including with the Syndicate of Private Hospitals, the Italian Cooperation for Development, and the National AIDS Programme, she joined the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) headquarters in New York in 2005 as a technical analyst, working on HIV prevention.
In 2009, Ms Khoury moved to the Arab States Regional Office as a programme specialist and was relocated to Cairo in 2011 in the midst of the Arab Spring. She coordinated the regional humanitarian response, especially during the Libya crisis and the onset of the Syria crisis, was involved in the Youth Regional Programme and provided close support to UNFPA offices in Libya and Algeria.
Ms Khoury is currently External Relations Officer at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Lebanon Country Office, dealing mainly with the response to the Syria crisis and its impact on Lebanon.
Gharanai Khwakhuzhi is a Foreign Service Officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, currently serving as First Secretary at the Embassy and Mission of Afghanistan to Belgium, the European Union and NATO, dealing with political and EU affairs.
Gharanai was born in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 1984. After graduating from high school, he started university in Islamabad, Pakistan, and obtained his BSc (Hon.) in information technology in 2009. In 2013, he was awarded a postgraduate degree in political science and diplomacy.
Prior to his current appointment, he served as the deputy director general for media relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. His interests include history, sports, photography and travelling.
Julia is an activist who is passionate about growing open communities.
She works as a project lead for the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany and as a consultant for The Engine Room. Julia has been running multiple community projects that foster the reuse of open data. Code for Germany, her latest project in collaboration with Code for America, is a civic tech community with 25 labs and more than 350 members across Germany.
Julia leads open data projects in close collaboration with companies and governments alike. In 2015, she co-organised the international Code for All Summit in New York, a two-day conference that brought together leading experts and practitioners in civic tech. Earlier this year she kicked off a prototype fund for civic tech projects in collaboration with Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
Former Minister of Economics, private investor, IT entrepreneur and manager, Dr Kóka has been CEO and Chairman of Cellum since 2011.
Since graduating from medical school in 1996, he has held various positions both in the public and private sector. Dr Kóka has worked in a number of senior lead positions at various Hungarian and international IT firms.
From 2003 he served as Member of the Board of the European ICT Association based in Brussels, and Chairman of the Hungarian-Indonesian Joint Business Council.
He was appointed Minister of Economics and Transport of Hungary in October 2004 and later reappointed in June 2006. In 2007-2008 he was President of the Liberal Party and parliamentary group leader until 2010.
After leaving politics in 2010, he returned to business as a consultant to reorganise Cellum Group, and was then appointed President and CEO of Cellum Global Corp in 2011.
Almut Küppers is an educational scientist, language researcher and teaching specialist. She holds a PhD from Goethe-University Frankfurt, and a PGCE from Birmingham University in England. Her home base is Frankfurt University, where she is a full time scholar at the Institute of English and American Studies. She has taught and worked at schools and universities in Germany, the UK, the USA and currently also in Turkey.
From 2005 to 2006 she worked as a Fulbright scholar in New Jersey, USA, and from 2013 to 2014 she was a Mercator-IPC Fellow at Istanbul Policy Center, Sabancı University. Her work involves researching issues of social and educational injustice and institutional discrimination, as well as studying transnational concepts of education with a focus on identity development, multilingualism and intercultural learning in the context of increasing diversity in a world that is rapidly becoming more interconnected.
She is a mother of three and currently based in Istanbul.
Mindaugas Lašas is currently posted to the Lithuanian Embassy in Berlin, where he is responsible for political affairs. From 2009-2012, as the Head of the Press Division, he coordinated the public communication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mindaugas entered the diplomatic service in 2003. He worked at the Information and Public Relations Department of the ministry and in 2009 was posted to the Bonn Office of the Lithuanian Embassy in Germany.
Mindaugas has experience in journalism. From 2001-2003, he was a reporter at the Baltic News Service, the biggest news agency in the Baltic States.
He studied at Vilnius University with a special academic interest in transatlantic relations and theories of international relations. After six years, Mindaugas obtained a Master’s degree in International Relations and Political Science.
Mindaugas is a critic of traditional diplomacy and a supporter of modern, stereotype-free approaches. The preconditions are: non-elitism, democratic values, transparency and online presence.
His years in Germany made Mindaugas a lover of German wine and Indie music. He is passionate about basketball, which is a national sport in Lithuania.
Geneviève Lavertu is the Senior Director of Medtronic Care Management Services – Canada (MCMS). MCMS is a provider of remote patient monitoring solutions, using digital health enabling technologies and data analytics to improve health.
She was formerly the Senior Director of Legal and Scientific Affairs and Business Development at Medtronic of Canada. Prior to this, Geneviève was General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of ProMetic Life Sciences Inc., and practised law with Stikeman Elliott LLP.
She holds Bachelor’s degrees in Civil Law and Common Law; an MSc. in Politics of the World Economy from LSE (UK); and an International Diploma of Public Administration from France’s ENA.
She is a member of the Board of Directors of MEDTEQ – a Quebec-based industry-led R&D consortium, the Board of CTS – a medical technologies accelerator, and the Industry Advisory Council to the Ontario Brain Institute.
Lina Li is a project manager at adelphi consult GmbH. From July 2014 to September 2015, she was a German Chancellor Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, hosted by Germanwatch, conducting research into Germany’s new climate diplomacy.
She holds a master’s degree ín International Politics from Peking University and worked for Ecofys (a European sustainable energy consultancy) and Greenovation Hub (a Chinese environmental NGO) prior to her fellowship. She has helped to organise and promote joint participation on the part of Chinese NGOs in international climate and sustainability processes.
With a great number of publications in the past seven years, she has a wealth of experience of projects and analysis in the fields of international climate negotiations, energy and climate policies, the carbon market and low-carbon cities.
Proven legal assistant for international and EU affairs, engaged in international negotiations for 11 years, worked at public offices and government members in Portugal (justice, transport, economy, foreign affairs) and Spain (transport).
She was head delegate and coordinator of high-level meetings/working parties/seminars, possesses superior communication and logistical skills; experience in project networking (Eurojust/European Judicial Network, Robert Bosch Stiftung/RIBEI) and project management, speaks four languages.
For the last two years, she has been collaborating with a Spanish think-tank which allowed her to combine practical and theoretical perspectives.She was dedicated to the new trends of public diplomacy at multilateral and bilateral levels.
Additionally, she capitalised her cultural and historical roots and coordinates a Latin America network for international studies (44 associates from 14 LAC).
Learn more about Patrícia in her blog post.
Mónica Lisboa was born 1971 in Portugal. She studied International Relations and European Studies in Lisbon.
In 1994 she joined the diplomatic service and served in the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs between 1995 and 1998. After being posted to the Embassies of the Portuguese Republic in New Delhi (1998-2000), Bern (2000-2005) and Jakarta (2005-2009), she returned to the Ministry in Portugal. Between 2009 and 2011, Mónica initially served as Head of Division in the European Affairs Department, followed by positions as Head of Division in the Department for Bilateral Relations to the Countries of Central and Western Africa and the Department for Lusophone African Countries. In 2012 Mónica was posted to Berlin, where she has served as an envoy at the Portuguese Embassy since 2014.
Ahmad Maaliji is a public administration and development cooperation professional with 13 years’ experience in public administration reform, institutional development and international experience covering the EU, NATO and regional cooperation.
Ahmad has worked in the Foreign Service of Afghanistan in various capacities including Counselor at the Mission of Afghanistan in Brussels; and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy and Programs. He has also worked for international organizations like British Council and the Asia Foundation, mainly involved in public administration and institutional development.
Ahmad holds a Master Degree in Social Sciences from Vrije University Brussels, and he is also a graduate of the Diplomatic Academy of Afghanistan. Ahmad is interested in track II diplomacy and strengthening the role of civil society organizations in state policy making.
Davood graduated from the Faculty of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran in 1993 before joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran.
Davood was posted to the Iranian Embassy in Tokyo from 1996 to 2000. He was Poland desk officer in the ministry till 2004. In second terms, Davood was posted to the Iranian Embassy in Belgrade. From 2008 – 2014, he worked in the West Europe Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran.
Davood is PhD student in International Relations: Science and Research Faculty, University of AZAD of Tehran from 2013. In 2014 (March), Davood participated in the 13th Executive Seminar for Diplomats from the Middle East and Northern Africa organised by the German Federal Foreign Office.
Since 2014 (October), he has been serving as Counsellor in the Iranian Embassy in Berlin.
Mbali Mahlobo is a policy analyst who is passionate about the development of Africa and more generally the pursuit of a developmental state. She has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and political science. She continued her studies to gain a post-graduate diploma focusing on policy development. She has worked in public service for a period of seven and half years, mainly focused on integrated planning, policy development and legislative drafting.
Her interests have always lain in the global political economy and regional perspectives on the interface between governments and historical legacies.
In South Africa, there is a continuous struggle for a capable, professional civil service. While significant strides have been made on the complexities of under-skilling and the need to provide training, policy and strategic thinking still pose a significant challenge for the country. It is in this aspect that her interest lies and where she feels the need for global diplomacy to start shaping the ideal effective democratic government system for countries in transition.
Elizabeth Maloba has worked as an organisational change and business growth facilitator since 2002, and has extensive experience in capacity building, knowledge management, facilitation and conflict resolution.
She works to provide support to organisations to enable them to achieve their objectives by supporting them in making decisions, solving problems, exchanging ideas and information, and learning. She has considerable entrepreneurship experience, having started her own business and invested in a couple of small businesses over the years. This experience allows her to combine entrepreneurial and management skills where needed. She also provides training on entrepreneurship and leadership.
She is currently studying for her master’s degree in organisational development. She lives in Nairobi and has worked in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Somalia and Benin. Her personal interests are travelling and reading.
Find out more about her engagement here.
Ifeoma is the CEO of Clean Tech Hub and the Energy Innovation Centre, Abuja; an incubator for new ideas and technologies, and business models specifically in the Renewable Energy and Clean Technology space in Nigeria. She is also the Country Campaign Director for Power For All in Nigeria. She leads the Nigerian campaign to promote distributed renewable energy in Nigeria and is one of the country's leading energy access experts. Ifeoma’s experience is cross-cutting across senior government and policy level positions; on issues concerning Energy Access; Climate Change; Tech and Innovation; Leadership and Change Management; Development and Poverty Alleviation; Gender Mainstreaming Project Design and Strategy; Stakeholder Partnership initiatives, and Deal Design. She has consulted for the European Union; DFID, USAID, World Bank; FHI 360, GOGLA, Practical Action; MHW Global; WoMIN amongst many other.
Ioana Manolescu Apolzan was born in 1975 in Timisoara, Romania, a multicultural town close to both the Hungarian and the Serb borders. During her four years of study for becoming a journalist, she worked as a programme coordinator for the Soros Foundation in Timisoara and at Transparency International in Bucharest. Thereafter, she studied political science at Bucharest University, where she finished first in her year.
Subsequently, she worked as adviser to the Minister of Culture. Afterwards, she entered the Foreign Affairs Ministry to work as a diplomat at the Permanent Mission to the UNESCO for six years. In Paris, she did a Master’s degree in International Security at SciencesPo. She then spent one year in the European Affairs department of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
She has been working as a diplomat at the Romanian Embassy in Berlin since 2013.
Born in 1967, Norbert Mao is a lawyer and politician. After leaving law school, he established the first ever legal aid project in war-torn northern Uganda. Thereafter, he was elected to the National Parliament of Uganda where he served from 1996 until he retired in 2006 to go and head the Gulu Local Government to spearhead peace efforts and the rehabilitation of the area recovering from war.
In Parliament, Norbert Mao championed peace, land rights, anti-corruption efforts and oversight of international financial institutions. From 2006-8, he spearheaded peace efforts with the LRA as part of the community initiative.
In 2011, he ran for President of Uganda as flag-bearer of the Democratic Party coming third in a field of eight and winning three of the seven districts won by the opposition.
Norbert Mao is a commentator who features in various local and international media.
He is married.
Joaquin Molina’s professional experience spans the private and public sectors, demonstrating a deep commitment to public service, human rights and Euro-Atlantic values.
He currently works as a Senior Officer in the Crisis Management Policy Section of the Operations Division within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In this role, Joaquin provides advice on international security issues to the Secretary General and the North Atlantic Council. He worked on crisis areas including the Western Balkans, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan. Between 2004 and 2008 Joaquin was involved in negotiations regarding the international status of Kosovo, working closely with United Nations Special Envoy – and later Nobel Peace Prize Laureate – Martti Ahtisaari in preparing the Comprehensive Proposal for the Kosovo Status Settlement. Before assuming his current position, Joaquin worked for NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division and in the Private Office of the Secretary General.
Prior to joining NATO, he was Head of Section for Human Rights and Rule of Law at the Office of the High Representative in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Joaquin worked for the European Parliament and as a private sector consultant in London and Milan. He earned his degree in law from Deusto University in Bilbao, Spain, and also holds a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC.
Alejandro has been a career diplomat since 2003, when he started working at the Directorate General for the Asia-Pacific. His first post abroad was at the Embassy of Mexico in China, where his last position was as Head of the Consular Section. In January 2012, he moved to the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the Council of Europe, where he works as Deputy Permanent Observer.
Alejandro holds a Master’s degree in International Law from Mexico. Later he gained a PhD in International and Comparative Law in China. He has participated in several training programmes, such as the 11th International Futures (August 2014), 1st Regional Meeting for Alumni from the Americas and the Caribbean (June 2014), Alumni Meeting on Global Ethics (November 2013), and the 2nd Executive Seminar for Diplomats from Latin America and the Caribbean (2007), offered by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany; the programme Understanding Modern China for Young Latin American Diplomats, developed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China (June 2005); and Korea’s Economic Development and Economic Crisis Management offered by the Korea Development Institute (KDI) (October 2004).
Alejandro speaks Spanish, English, Chinese and French. He loves travelling, reading and practising sports, such as football and swimming.
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.
Simon Masaba, aged 31, hails from Mbale district in Eastern Uganda and grew up in the capital Kampala. He attended Nabumali boarding primary school, St. Charles Lwanga Secondary School Kasasa and both the Islamic University in Uganda and Makerere University, from which he graduated with a degree in public administration and a diploma in journalism respectively. At secondary school, Simon Masaba was heavily involved in debating and held leadership roles in the debating club, football administration and as student representative on the school board.
Simon Masaba specialises in investigative reporting and is part of the team that covers crime at the government-owned New Vision newspaper, an offshoot of Vision Group. He is an enthusiastic reporter with over ten years’ experience in journalism. Masaba is one of the very few reporters focusing on urban violence, human trafficking, terrorist financing, money laundering, drug kingpins and other security threats. A large proportion of Uganda’s population (mostly youth) is jobless and uneducated. As a result of Masaba’s well-researched pieces, the Government of Uganda has increased its efforts to investigate, prosecute and convict people caught up with the long arm of the law. Through his articles, readers have also been educated about the strong criminal law enforcement policies that are in place in Uganda.
He reports on day to day criminal activities for New Vision and its online platform, where he has worked as a Crime Beat Reporter since 2010. He sparks ideas, cooperates with security agencies and writes in-depth analyses on the security situation in the country. Through his pieces, he has also exposed corruption in government institutions.
In his free time Simon Masaba enjoys playing and watching football.
Kyle Matthews is the Senior Deputy Director of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies at Concordia University and a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. His work focuses on human rights, international security, the Responsibility to Protect, global threats, and social media and technology.
He recently founded the Digital Mass Atrocity Prevention Lab and the Raoul Wallenberg Legacy of Leadership project.
In 2011, he joined the New Leaders program at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.
He is a member of the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations and the Federal Idea, a think tank devoted to federalism.
Colette Mazzucelli is a graduate faculty member of the Department of International Relations at the Graduate School of Arts and Science at New York University (NYU). She has two decades of experience in technology-mediated learning.
Professor Mazzucelli is a recipient of the NYU Excellence in Teaching Award 2013. Three of her courses have been profiled by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Foreign Affairs and the CFR Educators Bulletin. She is the author and/or editor of five books and numerous journal articles on European integration and transatlantic security. Her biography appears in Marquis Who’s Who in the World. Professor Mazzucelli’s courses on conflict resolution and radicalisation and religion represent NYU in the State Department / Facebook initiative, Peer 2 Peer (P2P).
She enjoys sports, appreciates travel, cuisine, and architecture, and loves making a home for her 12-year old adopted orange tabby, Samson Ferenc.
Svantje Meer works as a political scientist with the Berlin Police. In the Counter-Extremism Division she analyses the impact of international conflicts on the city of Berlin. Her main responsibility is identifying spill-over effects from foreign conflicts and identifying extremist crimes that are related to political ideologies and religious fanaticism. Svantje holds a Master’s degree in political science from the University of Konstanz with a specialisation in international relations, security and migration. Her main region of interest has always been the Middle East, where she has conducted research and projects in Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt and Israel/Palestine. She has always sought new and different perspectives on international conflicts from directly-affected individuals, and she believes this is key to understanding actors and conflict dynamics.
Kerstin Meins was born and raised in Hamburg, Germany. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Media Studies from Ruhr-Universität Bochum and a Master’s degree in the Social Sciences from the University of Chicago, where she focused on International Political Economy and Public Policy.
Her professional experience includes a Carlo Schmid Fellowship with the Office of the Chief Economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in London; teaching and coordinator’s responsibilities within the framework of a DAAD-funded social science study course run out of the liaison office of Freie Universität Berlin at Moscow State Institute of International Relations; and most recently building and managing the international network of alumni and partners of the Joachim Herz Stiftung, a non-profit foundation dedicated to the advancement of education, science and research in different subject areas.
Kerstin is currently chairwoman of the board of the CSP Network for International Politics and Cooperation, the alumni society of the Carlo Schmid Program. Among other things, she is interested in the contemporary politics, history and cultures of North America and Eastern Europe, the theory and practice of philanthropy, as well as networks and communication in corporate, political and social contexts.
Juan Carlos Mendoza is a dedicated professional in international relations and development cooperation, mainly in connection with sustainable development issues.
He worked in the private sector from 2003 to 2010 before joining the Ministry of Energy in Mexico. In 2013, Juan Carlos was invited to conduct research at the UNEP Risø Centre in Denmark to contribute to energy poverty studies in urban and peri-urban areas, and later in 2014 he joined the MGG (Managing Global Governance) programme hosted by the German Development Institute and GIZ in Bonn, took part in the International Futures programme and completed a professional stay at the office of the UN’s international initiative Sustainable Energy for All in Vienna. He has conducted research into social and unequal distribution of resources as a cause of inequality.
His main interests are urban governance and policies, resource-based inequality and cities as global actors.
Hailu Aderie Meskellie is an enthusiastic and dedicated professional with extensive experience across various areas of leadership. He can demonstrate expertise in managing organisations, mobilising the surrounding community and motivating others to achieve targets. Moreover, he is a proactive individual with a rational thinking and principle-centred approach to managing challenges. He performs effectively even under intense pressure in the working environment.
He has skills in coordinating and cooperating with others in teams, values as regards communicating easily and negotiating for win-win situations, and is a flexible and open-minded person. Hailu has served at various levels in 12 government institutions. He served as People’s Representative in Oromia National Regional State for two terms of five years each (from 2006 to 2015).
Hailu Aderie has received numerous awards, certificates and letters of gratitude for his socio-political activities.
Sonia Mezzour holds a master’s degree in mechanical and process engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ), followed by a master’s thesis at Harvard Medical School.She is fluent in Arabic, English, German, French and Spanish.
Currently Secretary General of one of the 39 strategic agencies of the Kingdom of Morocco leading 150 HC, Vice Chairperson of the UNECE PPP Bureau and Vice President of one of the municipalities in the capital, she is a keynote speaker at several high-level conferences such as Thinkers and Doers, WEF, CGLU, UN Palais des Nations and IMA.
Max Middeke is a policy advisor and project manager who specialises in peace and security, multilateral institutions and international development cooperation. He currently works with GIZ in Bonn, where he provides technical support to the German Government for its cooperation with international organisations such as the OECD, the World Bank and the UNDP.
Previously, Max worked for various political institutions in East Africa, North America, South East Asia and Europe, including the UN DPKO, the UNDP, the ILO, the Federal Foreign Office, the German Institute for International and Security Affairs and the Africa Peace and Security Programme at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS).
Max holds a degree in political science and has studied in Berlin, Istanbul and Pau.
He studied Chemistry and Economics at the University of Ulm and began his professional career within the Global Environmental Protection department at Daimler in Stuttgart.
From 2006 to 2009, he worked on his doctoral thesis at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and obtained a PhD in Engineering from the University of Stuttgart in 2010.He then joined the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) in Washington DC and founded the European branch of ICCT in Berlin in 2012. In the period October 2015 to June 2016, he was selected as IPC-Mercator Research Fellow in Istanbul.
His professional focus is on vehicle emissions and strategies for reducing the negative impacts of road transportation on our environment. His interest is mostly on combining technical, economic, social and political aspects and acting as a “translator” between stakeholders coming from different backgrounds.
Henryka Mościcka-Dendys was appointed Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland in charge of European policy, human rights and parliamentary affairs on 16 April 2013. Prior to that, she served as Director of the European Policy Department (from 2012) and Deputy Director of the same department, responsible for institutional affairs and Northern Europe (2011–2012).
She graduated in law and classics at the University of Silesia in Katowice and holds a PhD in International Law from the University of Warsaw.
She joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland in 2002. Her previous postings include Copenhagen, where she was seconded to the office of the CBSS Commissioner for Democratic Development (2003), and Berlin, where she served as 1st Secretary and later as Counsellor at the Polish Embassy, covering EU policies including enlargement and institutional issues (2007–2011).
She is a Member of Board of the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation (since 2011).
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 Mitupo.org, 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.
Fabrice is a leadership, education policy and social innovation enthusiast, with exceptional communication and advocacy skills who believes in making a difference and in the power of groups of people to find solutions to the most pressing issues in their communities through collaboration and innovation. He works as a country representative for ASHOKA in the DR Congo, coordinates the Robert Bosch Alumni Network in East Africa and has joined the Training for International Diplomats programme.
Prior to this, he ran for parliament in the Congo. He has six years of professional experience working with youth and women in the Congo and the great Lakes region, mostly in protecting youth through education with RET International, empowering women and youth in leadership and entrepreneurship with the Africa Youth Leadership Forum. He is currently a consultant for International Alert in youth leadership development.
Fabrice has founded One Best Corporate, a consulting company, and Lift up Africa, a venture that seeks to champion leaders for change across Africa.
Dilshad Muhammad is a researcher from Syria with a master’s degree in political science and international relations. He has expertise in nationalism and ethnic minorities studies. He worked as an Istanbul-based freelance journalist specialised in Turkish affairs. Dilshad Muhammad was also a guest researcher on global governance at the German Development Institute (DIE) in Bonn.
He is currently a research fellow at the Arnold Bergstraesser Institute and PhD candidate at the University of Freiburg with a scholarship from the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.
Lothar Müller works as a political adviser on foreign and European policy for the CSU group in the German parliament. Before that, he worked for the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Armed Forces, dealing inter alia with policy issues and representing the office at international conferences. Prior positions included working for the German Ministry of Defence, taking part in a European Twinning Project (intellectual property rights) in Poland, working for the UNODC/Terrorism Prevention Branch in Vienna and being a member of the European Police Mission Proxima in FYR of Macedonia.
Lothar studied law, political science and art history and holds a doctorate in law from the University of Vienna and a Master’s in European Governance from the ENA and the Humboldt University.
Key interests: foreign policy, European cooperation, institution-building.
Natalya was born and spent her childhood in the 1990's Kiev, prior to moving to Bavaria after elementary school. She received a degree as a state-certified interpreter for English and earned a Master of Arts in International Relations from the University of Central Lancashire in Northwestern UK.
She gained professional experience as Project Manager for the German-Russian Young Leaders Conference. As one of her current projects, she supports eHealth Africa as Admin Manager in Berlin, helping the NGO improve public healthcare in West Africa.
Natalya also acts as Deputy Chairwoman of the Young German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), working on the association's strategy as well as strengthening the internal and external network.
In 2016, she founded the non-profit enterprise Netzwerk Chancen, an advocacy platform that fights for equal opportunities for children and teenagers from low-income households in Germany.
Ms. Chi Nguyen is the Managing Director at Parker P. Consulting, a social enterprise consulting firm owned by White Ribbon. White Ribbon is the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls, promote gender equity, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity.
Ms. Nguyen has been recognised for her contributions to improving the lives of women and girls throughout Canada by the Governor General (2004) and the YWCA (1999). These efforts included running a national Young Women Vote campaign, the creation of the McGill Women in House program and co-authoring the “Little Black Book for Girls”.
She serves on the advisory of Jane’s Walk, a global movement of citizen-based walks that connect people with their own stories about their communities.
In her free time, she likes to race streetcars on her bicycle, eat delicious food, run and quilt.
Khac Giang Nguyen is currently a senior political researcher and Head of the Socio-political Unit at the Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research.He obtained a BA in international economics and an MA in media and globalisation from Aarhus University (Denmark) and City University London (UK).
His main research interests are Vietnamese affairs, ASEAN and democratisation in Asia. Giang is also a popular columnist on Vietnamese newspapers, including VnExpress and Vietnamnet. He is also a contributor to the policy blog East Asia Forum.
Seth Oppenheim has more than ten years of public international law, international criminal law, and national security experience with a focus on Europe, including as a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin and as a Fulbright Scholar to both Austria and to UNESCO in Paris.
In addition, Seth was an attorney at the International Criminal Court and was a Law Clerk at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia where he assisted in the prosecution of Slobodan Milosevic. Seth has extensive U.S. government experience, including at the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation; he is currently a Trial Attorney with the Office of International Affairs at the Department of Justice.
Seth is a graduate of the University of Michigan, the University of Michigan Law School, and the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna.
Twenty-three years of public administration and international experience covering the UN, NATO, World Bank, Canadian diplomacy and private sector ventures. Diego has worked globally on diplomatic/political and economic matters, climate change/adaptation policy, as well as institutional/social reconstruction, civil-military coordination and humanitarian issues.
He has deployed to Afghanistan, Colombia, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Indonesia (Banda Aceh), Iraq, Central African Republic, Jordan, Kosovo, Liberia, Pakistan, and Timor Leste to name some of his multiple field missions. He previously served as Senior Peacekeeping Officer (2006) and as Senior Advisor on Mediation, Negotiation and Peace processes (2019) at Global Affairs Canada.
He is also an Associate Fellow of both the Raoul-Dandurand Chair in Strategic and Diplomatic Studies at the Université de Quebec a Montreal (UQAM) and the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies. Diego has lectured in humanitarian action, governance design, the humanitarian-development nexus, reconciliation/mediation, post-conflict recovery, political economy, complexity/economic geography, and urban conflict at universities in Canada and abroad. He also works on co-creation and human design methodologies.
Evrykleia Panagiotou has served as a diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic since 2005. Currently, she is posted to the Embassy of the Hellenic Republic in Doha, Qatar, where she has been Deputy Head of Mission and Consul since September 2014. Evrykleia is looking forward to discussing the challenges of diplomacy in our days in the framework of the forthcoming Global Diplomacy Lab.
David Patrician is a freelance journalist.
In 2006, he was awarded a Fulbright scholarship and came to Germany on a journalist exchange. Some of his assignments included being embedded with the German Bundeswehr in Afghanistan, as well as hosting some special reports for WDR, Radio Bremen, Deutsche Welle, Newsweek and Delta Radio (a weekly radio show entirely in German).
Prior to this, he was a radio and news producer for the Voice of America in Washington, DC. David graduated from the University of Maryland with a double degree in government and politics, and did some of his master’s degree at Georgetown University.
In addition, he has also moderated several international conferences, including the Water Act Summit in Paris prior to COP 21.
Find out more about his work on our blog.
Banu Pekol is a founding member of the Association for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, where she continues to work as a consultant for architectural conservation projects of non-Muslim heritage in Turkey. She worked as an assistant professor of architectural history and conservation at Özyeğin University, Istanbul, and has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at the Istanbul Technical University and the Netherlands Institute in Turkey.
She won the Salzburg Global Seminar Fellowship on Conflict Transformation through Culture: Peace-building and the Arts; the Association Villard de Honnecourt for the Interdisciplinary Study of Technology, Science, and Art Award; a Hellenic Ministry of Culture Grant; the Otto Gründler Award; and grants from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and Bodossaki Foundation.
She has worked as an advisor and specialist on EU and US-funded projects and continues other activist projects.
Jennifer Pernau works as executive assistant to the CEO at Dr. Arend Oetker Holding in Berlin.
After her studies in Germany, New Zealand and Italy, she did a PhD with a focus on different social and religious systems and their impact on the development of democracy and the understanding of human rights.
At the German Commission for UNESCO she deepened her interest in the current cultural scene, education and media politics.As head of the division for cultural programmes at the Goethe-Institut Rome, she planned programmes with ministries, embassies, universities and local cultural and educational institutions.
As a strong believer in multilateralism, Jennifer is a member of Young DGAP (German Council on Foreign Relations), an alumna of the Turkey Europe Future Forum 2015, and was selected as moderator of Bürgerwerkstatt Außenpolitik 2016 by the Federal Foreign Office and Stiftung Mercator.
Sonja Peteranderl is an editor at Spiegel Online and co-founder of BuzzingCities Lab, a think tank focusing on digitalisation and security/crime in informal settlements. She covers global politics, tech trends, security, justice and organised crime/cyber crime for example the global war on drugs, predictive policing, the digital transformation of drug cartels in Mexico or the European arms trade.
She has previously worked as a senior editor at Wired Germany magazine, and as a freelance foreign correspondent for German media such as Spiegel Online, Wired, Zeit Online, Impulse magazine or Journalist magazine in several Latin American countries, the USA and China.
As a fellow of the American Council on Germany, she is currently investigating the influence and the challenges of algorithmic decision-making systems/predictive policing in the policing and security realm in Germany and the USA. She is also an alumna of the Robert Bosch foundation's “Media Ambassadors China – Germany” programme, Otto-Brenner-Stiftung/Netzwerk Recherche and the foreign journalism programme of the German National Academic Foundation/Besser Foundation and has received several grants for her international investigations.
Read more about Sonja in this blog post.
Jernej Pikalo is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Ljubljana and former Minister of Education, Science and Sports of Slovenia.
He was educated at the University of Ljubljana and the University of Warwick (UK) and has authored and co-authored four books and more than twenty peer-reviewed articles.
He has worked across disciplinary boundaries in international teams at the University of Warwick, Bristol University, European Inter-University Centre in Venice, and at the Bifrost University in Iceland.
He has managed and led academic projects financed by the European Union and Council of Europe, mainly on civic education in the global era. He was a chairperson of the Programme Council of RTV Slovenia and member of the board of the Institute of Autism in Ljubljana.
Frequently contributing to Slovene media, he lives in Ljubljana with his wife and two children.
Likki-Lee Pitzen is an attaché at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin, where her remit covers renewable energy policies in Asia and Latin America. Coming from the private sector, she previously served as an associate at Lion’s Head Global Partners, an alternative asset management and financial advisory firm in London, where she worked on renewable energy and sustainable development finance in developing countries.
She completed the Mercator Fellowship on International Affairs in 2017, which saw her work on energy sector reform with the World Bank in Jakarta and on power access with IFC in Washington, DC. Prior to this, she advised on private sector engagement in ICT-based solutions for sustainable development at GIZ in Berlin. Likki studied economics, business and Chinese in Hamburg and obtained an MSc in Asian studies from Lund University.
Likki supports citizens’ engagement in climate action and has hosted workshops on divestment and carbon footprint reduction. She is a chief editor at ad hoc international and contributes articles on economic affairs to DIE ZEIT newspaper.
Drawn to the outdoors, Likki is determined to hike through all 16 German national parks and prefers to navigate the urban wild via skate and longboard.
Nicolai Pogadl is a project manager at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies at Concordia University, and a researcher at the Digital Mass Atrocity Prevention Lab.
His professional focus is on projects at the intersection of digital technology, conflict analysis, atrocity prevention and human rights. In the context of his work he has conducted a research project at the MIT Media Lab and the Harvard Berkman-Klein Center, participated in several conflict and atrocity prevention hackathons, and advised two teams at a “Hacking for Diplomacy” course at Stanford University.
Nicolai studied International Affairs in St. Gallen, Switzerland, where he was also involved with the St. Gallen Symposium as an IT project leader. Before embarking on his studies he enjoyed working in several social institutions, including a hospice in the United Kingdom and a kindergarten for children with disabilities in Germany.
Jozef joined the Slovak Foreign Service in 2005. Currently he is Head of Unit for General Affairs and EU Institutions at the Slovak Permanent Representation to the European Union in Brussels. Prior to this position, he was Deputy Director of the Department of Analysis and Policy Planning of the Slovak Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. Between 2007 and 2012, he worked in the political section of the Embassy of his country in Berlin.
Jozef holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Economics in Bratislava. He has also completed an MA in European Studies at the University of Hamburg and an MA in International Relations at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.
Josef participated in the 4th Diplomatenkolleg (Federal Foreign Office, Robert Bosch Foundation and German Council on Foreign Relations) in 2008/2009.
Ivana is a Freelance Project Manager and an Elected Advisory Council Member of the Global Diplomacy Lab. She is an experienced professional with a proven track record of working in public administration and civil society. 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.
Through the Fellowship Programme for Young Government Officials from Western Balkans, organised by the European Fund for the Balkans, she served as an exchange officer in the Training for International Diplomats section at the German Federal Foreign Office in 2015.
She is a graduate of the Hertie School of Governance (Executive Master of Public Administration) in Berlin, the Faculty of Political Sciences of the University of Belgrade, and the Diplomatic Academy of Serbia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
As Director General of the General Directorate of Municipal Affairs (GDMA) of the Independent Directorate of Local Governance of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, he is in charge of the government institution at the central level that oversees, manages and regulates the affairs of all 195 municipalities of Afghanistan, with the exception of the capital.
Before he became Director General of GDMA in 2011, he had worked for UN agencies for 18 years, most recently as Senior Urban National Programme Manager for UN-Habitat.
Among other degrees he holds a postgraduate diploma in Land Management and Informal Settlement Regularisation from the International Institute of Urban Management of the Erasmus University at Rotterdam, Netherlands and - through distance-learning - a doctoral degree in Political Science and International Relations from the Atlantic International University, Hawaii, USA.
Anna-Maria Praks holds MA degrees in Law (2002) and European Studies (2008). Since 1999 her focus in professional activities and training courses has been on foreign and security policy.
In Tallinn she worked for the Estonian Ministry of Defence from 2001 to 2006 as Deputy Director of the Department of International Cooperation. From 2006 to 2008 she acted as Advisor on International Affairs to the National Defence Committee of the Estonian Parliament.
Since 2009 Anna-Maria has been living in Berlin, Germany, where she first worked as Security and Defence Policy Counsellor at the Estonian Embassy (2009-2012). From 2013 to autumn 2015 she worked as a research associate at the Institute for Security and Safety in Potsdam. Currently she is engaged in freelance and voluntary activities, among other things working in an emergency shelter for refugees in Berlin.
Jakob Preuss is a documentary filmmaker. His films, shot in Iran, Bosnia, and Ukraine, have been broadcast in over nine countries. His last film, “The Other Chelsea”, about the coal-mining city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, won the Grimme Award in Germany. He is currently working on a film project on Europe’s borderlands and migration policy for German public TV.
In 2013, Jakob and other artists founded the association GehtAuchAnders, which encourages artists to get involved in socio- political matters. In addition to his activities as a filmmaker, Jakob works in the political arena. He coordinated the drafting of the electoral manifesto of Alliance 90/The Greens for the 2014 European elections. He has also worked for the Greens’ parliamentary group in the German Bundestag as an adviser on European Affairs.
His previous employment also includes the NGO, Reporters without Borders, where he served as CIS desk officer with a focus on Russia and Central Asia. He has also observed numerous elections for the OSCE (including elections in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Ukraine) and for the European Union in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Jasdeep Randhawa is an international development and legal consultant with more than eight years of work experience spanning five continents. She has worked for UN-Habitat as the Programme Manager for Local Authorities, the Urban Legislation Advisor and the Regional Partnerships Advisor for Implementation of the New Urban Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs). She has consulted for the OECD, the Governments of India, New Zealand and Australia, the World Bank and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on access to water security and sanitation services. She currently works as a Water Resources Management Specialist at the World Bank, Washington DC.
She is passionate about tapping into the huge potential amongst young social entrepreneurs in India to localise the implementation of the SDGs, particularly in the fields of water, climate change, urbanisation, innovation and skills development.
Jasdeep has been selected to represent India at the G20 Youth Forum, and as a fellow of the Global Diplomacy Lab, the BMW Foundation, the Global Governance Futures programme and Global Table and has presented policy recommendations on global governance issues pertaining to climate change, the refugee crisis, water security, digital technology and building trust in post-conflict societies.
Jasdeep has also served as a law clerk to a senior judge in the Supreme Court of India and as a judicial marshal in the High Court of Hong Kong. Jasdeep has taught courses in law and public policy in India, New Zealand, Kenya and the United States.
A recipient of several international scholarships and awards, Jasdeep holds a Master’s in Law from Yale, a Bachelor’s in Civil Law from the University of Oxford, a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a law degree from Government Law College, Mumbai.
Jasdeep is a travel junkie, having made her way to 47 countries, and an amateur photographer.
Jörg was born in Münster and studied at the local art academy. From early on he was interested in the ideas of the artist Joseph Beuys and the introduction of the concept of social sculpture. In 1988 he moved to Berlin to study art and cultural management. He began to exhibit and to work for several art institutes. In 1999, he began working with organizations and business schools transferring creative principles to the world of organizations. Later he attended an education program on systemic consultancy.
Recently, he was trained in positive psychology, which is now a cornerstone of his work. In his art projects he reflects on the human condition. Jörg loves to combine intensive reflecting on art with coaching sessions, focussing especially on personal growth, writes articles and teach on creative leadership. He is married, a father of two children and loves to sail.
You can learn more about Jörg and his creative approaches to social and political challenges in his newest blog article.
Dr Jörn Richert is a political scientist and policy advisor.
His areas of expertise include new foreign policy strategy, foresight methods and global energy governance. He is Assistant Professor for Energy Governance at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, and works as a project leader on energy transition foreign policy at Stiftung Neue Verantwortung, a Berlin-based Think Tank.
Previously, he worked as a future analyst for the Future Analysis Branch of the German Armed Forces’ Planning Office as well as for Think Tanks in Istanbul, Berlin (SWP), and Copenhagen.
He studied political science, economics, and psychology in Kiel and Madrid and holds a doctorate degree in Sociology/International Relations from Bielefeld University.
Bastian Richter is a United Nations staff member with in-depth expertise in leading complex inter-agency planning processes, as well as analysis and lessons learning initiatives.
In his current job at the UNDP, he manages the implementation of the UN-wide Programme Criticality Framework, an essential element of the UN’s security risk management system in countries affected by conflict.
In the previous six years, Bastian also worked for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, for UNICEF HQ and the Somalia Country Office, as well as for the UN Political Office for Somalia.
As a Mercator Fellow on International Affairs in 2010-11, Bastian explored the interplay of conflict and humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa. He has a Master’s degree in Global Politics from the London School of Economics (LSE). He enjoys reading about contemporary history and is a keen distance runner.
Humphrey is currently working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of the Republic of Kenya as a Foreign Service Officer I (First Secretary) at the UN and Multilateral Affairs Directorate.
From 2007 to 2013, he lectured on German language and research methodology at the Wildlife Clubs of Kenya’s Centre for Tourism Training and Research, and also worked as a part-time German language lecturer at the Technical University of Kenya.
In May and June 2014, he attended the 8th Executive Seminar for Young Diplomats from Africa in Berlin. From 2007 to 2010, he undertook a Master of Arts in International Studies at the University of Nairobi (Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies).
In 2003, he attended an international summer course at the University of Freiburg in Germany. From 1999 to 2003, he studied German Language and Literature at Kenyatta University (School of Education and Human Resource Development).
Since 2003 Hatem has worked in the cultural field in Egypt and on the international scene. He has implemented several projects as a project manager, curator, trainer, and theatre director. He holds a BA in theatre studies and has followed a programme in cultural management with the Goethe-Institut.
After participating in Tandem Shaml 2012/2013 (supported by the Robert Bosch Foundation), Hatem joined the Tandem team in Berlin in February 2014. He was the project manager for the Tandem Shaml programme, then for the Tandem Europe programme with cultural operators from different countries, focusing on the collaboration process. He contributed to the programme content through mentorship and offered support for the participants.
At the moment, Hatem is working with the Tandem team as a programme adviser. He offers support with methods, concepts, developing new Tandem programmes and advocacy.
Mome Saleem has a strong background in global governance, peace and security, gender, diplomacy and training for conflict resolution through dialogue.
She has a keen insight into the needs of developing countries and is a well-versed and proficient public speaker in the languages of Urdu, English and Punjabi.
She has conducted training sessions on peacebuilding, transformation, conflict resolution and gender mainstreaming and media content analysis on peace and gender.
Mome Saleem is a Programme Coordinator at Heinrich Böll Foundation Islamabad, Pakistan. Before, she has worked at the think-tank “Sustainable Development Policy Institute” in Islamabad.
Her research interest focused on human security and gender as a cross-cutting theme. Mome has produced research publications on subjects with relevance to Pakistan.
She is coordinator of the Council for Women Parliamentarians.
Zuhal Salim graduated from the Faculty of International Relations at Kateb University in 2011.
Besides her native language Farsi,she also speaks English, German, and French.
Prior to joining the Foreign Service, she worked for a few months at the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan (IEC) in the Gender Unit as Gender Officer.
In February 2013, she joined the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and, soon after, she took part in the one-year Diplomacy Course organised by the MoFA’s Institute of Diplomacy.
During this time, she has participated in several training programmes abroad. Through these programmes, Zuhal Salim had remarkable networking opportunities and enhanced her advanced understanding of regional and global perceptions of peace and cross-cultural communication.
Susanne Salz’s key areas of expertise and interest are sustainable development and global governance. She is working as Advisor on multi-stakeholder-partnerships 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.
Trini Saona is a journalist and has been a diplomat in the Chilean Foreign Service since 2010. She currently works in the office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Between 2015 and 2017, she worked at the Alfredo Zolezzi Foundation, a non-profit organisation set up by Chilean innovator Alfredo Zolezzi, whose innovation model aims to connect advanced science and technology with emerging social and environmental challenges.
At the MFA, she has served at the Chilean Embassy in Mexico and, in Santiago, at the Directorate of Strategic Planning and the office of the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs.
In diplomacy, her main interest is in exploring new methodologies and tools in depth in order to achieve a new understanding of their practical use. She studied for an MBA at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile between 2017 and 2019, with the aim of identifying different frameworks of leadership and strategy applicable to diplomacy.
She speaks Spanish, English and French, and her main hobby is photography.
Learn more about Trinidad in her blog post.
Milica is currently working in the Strategic Communication Team for Western Balkans and Turkey at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR).
Up until the end of 2018, she worked as a coordinator for European Integration and International Cooperation in the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit within the Serbian Prime Minister’s cabinet. Her mandate was to strengthen government capacities to develop and implement social inclusion policies based on good European practices. From 2008 until mid-2018, she worked at the Ministry of European Integration dealing with questions relating to fundamental rights, reform of the judiciary, the fight against corruption, migration and freedom of expression. She started her professional career in the national Parliament, working in the Foreign Affairs Committee. In 2017, as a participant of the Fellowship Programme for Young Government Officials from the Western Balkans, she was an exchange civil servant at the Federal Foreign Office working with the Global Diplomacy Lab.
She is a graduate of the Faculty of Philology at the University of Belgrade, the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Diplomatic Academy and the College of Europe, Brugge.
Julia Sattler is Assistant Professor of American Studies at TU Dortmund University, Germany. Following her dissertation, in which she analysed mixed race narratives using the theoretical framework of contextual family therapy, she began exploring the intersections of American studies and urban planning, mostly working with Detroit, MI, and her native Ruhr Valley. She has worked with multiple urban redevelopment projects, and has co-taught a number of classes with urban-planning colleagues from Germany and the US. Following this trajectory, she is now studying the negotiation of radical urban transformation processes in American poetry. Furthermore, she is conducting research for a new book project on female responses to Walt Whitman’s poetry. Beyond her academic interests, Julia loves theatre, travel, photography and creative writing.
Sabrina Schärf is currently completing her professional training course for the policy branch of the German Foreign Office.
Previously, Sabrina worked as a business developer for the Spanish energy company Abengoa Solar.
She is an alumna of the Mercator Kolleg for International Affairs and in June 2015 co-founded Polis180, a grassroots think-tank on European and foreign policy.
She has an MSc in Politics and Government of the EU from the London School of Economics and has completed her BA in Political Science in Potsdam and Barcelona.
Sabrina loves Spanish cuisine and swing dance.
Sebastián Schonfeld is the Institutional Director of the ESMA Memory Site Museum. He is a cultural manager, producer and musician. He studied arts at the University of Buenos Aires and has built a career in the field of culture and social communication both in the private and public sector. His specialisations include the design and implementation of public policy for cultural sector development as well as strategic communication. He has taught at the University of Palermo. In recent years, he has held the position of PR Manager for the state-run telecommunications company ARSAT and has worked as Secretary of Cultural Management at Argentina’s Ministry of Culture.
Sabrina Schulz is Head of Government Relations at KfW, the German national development bank. While she is responsible for the full range of the bank’s activities her main focus is on the role the financial sector can play in the transition to a low-carbon economy and the implementation of the SDGs.
Before joining KfW in 2018, she was the Director of the Berlin office of E3G – Third Generation Environmentalism, a global not-for-profit climate and energy think tank, for six years. Before that, Sabrina worked in various policy capacities for think tanks and consultancies in Germany, the UK, the US and Canada. From 2009 to 2011, she was a Policy Advisor on climate change and energy to the British High Commission in Canada.
Sabrina holds an MA in Public Policy and Management from the University of Potsdam, for which she also studied at the University of Konstanz and Université catholique de Louvain, as well an MA in International Politics and a PhD from the University of Wales at Aberystwyth in the United Kingdom. She self-identifies as an environmentalist, an internationalist and a yogini and is a member of the board of Greenpeace Germany and a Policy Fellow at Das Progressive Zentrum in Berlin.
Luisa recently founded SINGA Germany, an organisation dedicated to developing innovative solutions to refugees’ socio-economic integration. In her most recent position as a Mercator Fellow, she worked with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on forcibly displaced persons’ access to decent labour in host countries. She regards migration of all kinds as a process that questions both traditional structures within states and relations between states, and thus as an impetus for societal and political creativity and innovation. Before receiving the Mercator Fellowship, she was a research associate and policy adviser at the efms (european forum for migration studies), a long-established migration research institute in Germany that aims to help improve migration and integration policy in Germany and Europe via informed discourse on these issues. Over the years, she has gained expertise in a wide array of migration-related fields, not least through her work with refugees in Morocco.
Luisa studied Applied Political Science at the University of Freiburg and the Institut d’Études Politiques d’Aix-en-Provence with a focus on international relations and migration. She firmly believes in, and yet time and again is stunned by, the value of curated intercultural dialogue, which she endeavoured to facilitate during her time at university while working at the Franco-German TV channel ARTE and the Festival du Monde Arabe de Montréal.
During a sabbatical, she withdrew from the turmoil of international politics and directed her curiosity towards a more artisanal venture by learning how to make hats and headdresses. This creative work has become a passion of hers.
Patrícia is currently Cultural Attaché at the Embassy of Portugal in Berlin, responsible for network and cooperation development between the Portuguese and German Ministries of Culture and state cultural institutions. She also develops multilateral cultural cooperation within the framework of the EUNIC cluster in Berlin, a network of European cultural institutes. Prior to this she worked for the Portuguese Ministry of Culture as Project Manager and Head of Division in charge of strategic planning, coordinating industry meetings and the Portuguese presence in international film festivals and markets including Berlin, Cannes, Venice, and Rio de Janeiro.
Before her placement in Berlin, she was appointed Advisor on Film and Media to the Secretary of State for Culture in Portugal. Some years after finishing her degree in modern languages and literature at the University of Cologne, she was seconded as a Bellevue Fellow of the Robert Bosch Stiftung to the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media in Berlin.
Patrícia strongly believes that creative diplomacy and cultural investment are key elements of a structured external relations policy.
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).
Dr Qilan Shen is a most curious observer of life and the world who wants to make a difference. She holds a Master of Philosophy degree from Fudan University in China and obtained her PhD from the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany.
A famous art critic and writer in China, her latest book, “Taking life at my own pace”, sold 30,000 copies within three months, and was acclaimed one of the “books of the year 2014” by the media. Her art criticism can often be found in both academic journals and in mass media. Her articles have appeared in Art World Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar Art Magazine, BOOK TOWN, Art and Design, Life Magazine, Numéro, Noblesse, Vogue and Art Collection and Design.
Dr Shen Qilan worked as the director of the editorial department of the prominent Art World Magazine (2010-2011) and was later chief arts editor and the director of international projects at Shanghai Insight Media (2012-2013), China South Publishing & Media Group. She has served as an editorial board member of BOOK TOWN Magazine, one of the most prestigious and intellectual magazines in China, since 2014.
Dmytro is from Ukraine. Having spent 10 years at the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry and at the embassies in Washington, DC, and in Berlin, he was posted to the Consulate General in Munich in January 2017, where he works on political, interregional and economic issues.
Dmytro was born and raised in Crimea, a region that is central to the current crisis with Russia. His parents and many of his friends still live there, which means that the crisis is not just an issue he deals with at work, but also part of his life.
Dmytro studied law at Dnipropetrovsk National University and Freie Universität Berlin. He was able to attend law school in Germany thanks to a scholarship from the Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future”, and this gave him a firm basis for his career as a diplomat.
His hobbies include playing rock music, mountaineering and snow sports.
Stanislav Shevchenko was born on 21 April 1980 in the town of Okhtyrka in the Sumy region, into a family of engineers. After finishing secondary school in Vinnytsia in 1997, he enrolled at Vinnytsia State University (Foreign Languages Department) to study English and German. He had always dreamed of becoming a lawyer, and he then entered and successfully graduated from Kyiv National Linguistic University (Department of Law) and the Ukrainian State University of Finance and International Trade (Department of International Trade Law) gaining a Bachelor's degree in Ukrainian law and a Master's degree in international private and public law. Alongside his studies he also worked for the regional state administration in Vinnytsia in the department of European and Euro-Atlantic integration.
In 2007 he participated in a High Level Exchange Programme organised by the Federal Foreign Office. The programme helped the young professional deepen his knowledge in the spheres of European integration and international public law. After working in various law firms, he finally passed the qualification exam for the right to practise law and in 2014 became a licensed lawyer. "A sound mind in a sound body" is the tenet by which he lives, as he strives to show that sport is part of a healthy lifestyle and helps maintain the body’s physical and mental wellbeing.
Imran is a South African diplomat in the process of completing his MA in International Relations and World Order through the University of Leicester online, with a focus on the impact that Technology is having on International Relations. He is currently an official in South Africa's Foreign Ministry, covering issues related to South Africa's position on science and technology in a multilateral organisation such as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS).
Prior to this, he served as First Secretary (Political) at the Embassy of South Africa in Berlin, Germany, from 2014 to 2017; as Desk Officer for the National Office for Coordination of Peace Missions, as well as on the USA Political Bilateral Desk. His first diplomatic posting were as First Secreatry (Political) at the South African Embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe, from June 2007 to July 2011, where he dealt with a range of issues from serving on the secretariat of the South African Mediation Team to dealing with the land issues in Zimbabwe as it affected South Africa.
Throughout his teenage years he took up various leadership positions as a student activist in organisations that stood up against apartheid and any other forms of injustice. To this day, he holds and maintains these values.
Read more about Imran in this blog article.
Stefanos is very passionate about politics. During his childhood, he and his family moved very often, which is why he is able adapt very easily to different conditions and is always in search of new experiences and adventures.
He studied law in Greece (Thrace) and Germany (Berlin), but never became a lawyer. A scholarship from the German Bundestag (IPS) and an internship offered by a Social Democrat Secretary of State opened doors for him to become a political activist. As a scientific associate of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, he works on various important topics such as social inequality. However, he firmly believes that you have to have experienced inequality yourself in order to fully understand this issue.
He experienced inequality himself as he had to work hard to be able to finance his studies at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and also when he decided to return to his country, Greece, in the middle of the financial crisis. Being politically active is a matter of trying to change things that bother you and not a question of achieving personal ambitions.
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.
Olga is a McGill Postdoctoral Fellow in Space Governance and Research Associate at the George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute.
Prior to that, she worked for the Parliament of Ukraine, the German Aerospace Center, the Ukrainian Space Agency and the European Space Agency. She has been in the space sector for more than ten years, including seven years as a government official (with governmental and parliamentary experience).
An IDEST and ISU alumna, she has worked both nationally and internationally, combining public service with academic work and legal practice. Her main scientific interests lie in the fields of space security, space governance, space diplomacy, international space cooperation and commercial space. In 2013, Olga was honoured with the IAF Emerging Space Leaders recognition award.
She is a member of the International Institute of Space Law and Women in Aerospace Europe.
Paula has always worked in the intersection between economics, public policy, implementation challenges and technology. She brings a multi-sector perspective, understanding of organizational change and a passion for institutional development and data.
Paula is the delegate of the Government of Ecuador to the World Bank working closely with the Minister of Finance. She is part of the Board of Executive Directors since September 2018. Before joining the Board, Paula worked at the World Bank for nine years on issues related to poverty reduction, inequality, governance and organizational change. Before joining the Bank, Paula was deputy vice-minister and adviser to ministers of Economy, Finance and Energy in Ecuador. In those roles, she designed and implemented fiscal and sector reform.
Paula is an Economist and holds a Master of Public Administration and International Development from Harvard. She has studied in France, Germany, Ecuador and the United States.
Satyarupa Shekhar heads the Government Outreach and Advisory Group at CAG.
Satyarupa works to overcome challenges to access to basic services posed by a lack of data and information, while improving transparency and accountability. 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.
Zlata Simonenko has a Master’s degree in law (honours). Zlata combined her studies with work as a legal assistant at a leading law firm, which helped her better understand criminal justice issues.
Zlata currently works as a criminal lawyer; she is an expert in law enforcement reform in Ukraine and a legal advisor to the PM in the area of police reform. Zlata has helped draft bills related to policing and detective work, as well as amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code. In addition, she has proven the concealment of evidence by police authorities in cases of urban violence and she has opened disciplinary proceedings against the Ukrainian Prosecutor General for violating the right of presumption of innocence. Zlata currently deals with issues of urban violence in Ukraine and, within the framework of the working group, is involved in drafting a law intended to reduce the level of violence in the country.
Vesna Teršelič is the founder and director of the Croatia-based organisation Documenta – Centre for Dealing with the Past. The central aim of her work is to establish factual truth about the war and to play a role in shifting the discussion from the level of dispute over facts towards a dialogue on interpretations, as well as to support survivors and advocate acknowledgment of the suffering of victims of war crimes. In doing so, she is continuing her earlier work as Director of the Centre for Peace Studies, Zagreb, and as founder and coordinator of the Anti-War Campaign in Croatia.
Since 1985, she has focused on organising for social change by advocating environmental protection, affirming women’s rights and promoting human rights. As one of the initiators of RECOM, a non-political regional coalition of civil society organisations and individuals working to establish a fact-finding commission into the Yugoslav wars, she has been campaigning for years to establish the facts about war crimes and human rights violations committed in former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 2001.
She was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1998 for her efforts in building peace and affirming the right to truth, justice and remembrance in post-Yugoslav countries, after having been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997.
Almaz was born in Bishkek in 1971.
He studied foreign languages, specializing in German and English, and graduated from Kyrgyz State University. As a scholar of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), he studied for one semester at Humboldt University in Berlin.
From 1996 to 2013, he worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic, serving in five different departments. He had to deal with CIS, the Diplomatic Service and the Shanghai Organization for Cooperation. During that time he was posted to Vienna (2000-2004) as Deputy Head of the Kyrgyz Delegation to the OSCE and served as Minister-Counsellor at the Kyrgyz Embassy in Berlin (2011-2013).
In 2014, he ended his diplomatic career and started his own business in the field of medical tourism.
Almaz speaks Kyrgyz, Russian, German, English and French. He is interested in philosophy, religion, football, snowboarding and chess.
Cana Tülüs has been working at Istanbul Policy Centre (IPC) since January 2012.Before joining IPC, she worked at Tohum Autism Foundation for 18 months as a projects assistant and deputy projects specialist.
She obtained her master’s degree in European studies from Sabancı University (Turkey). She received her undergraduate degree in political science and international relations from Boğaziçi University (Turkey) in 2009. During her BA, she did internships at Cumhuriyet newspaper, NTV and the Turkish National Assembly for short periods.
She is a student of the political science PhD programme at Istanbul Bilgi University. She writes for Beğenmeyen Okumasin literature blog and is a mentor at BUMED. She is a Turkey Europe Future Forum 2015 fellow and a first-year EU Communication Volunteer of the Turkish Ministry for EU Affairs.
Emre Tunçalp is a London-based associate at Stroz Friedberg where he advises investors on country-specific risks in emerging markets. Prior to joining Stroz Friedberg, Emre worked at Sidar Global Advisors (SGA), a Washington, DC-based emerging markets research and risk advisory firm.
Emre holds an MA in International Relations and International Economics, with a concentration on energy and environment policy, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, DC, and a BA in Political and Social Sciences from Sabanci University in Istanbul.
A committed transatlanticist and a firm believer in multilateralism, Emre was part of the Emerging Leaders Working Group established by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen during the 2014 NATO Wales Summit, and is a member of the Atlantic Council and Ecologic Institute's Emerging Leaders in Energy and Environmental Policy (ELEEP) Network. In 2016, he was selected as a Future Energy Leader by the World Energy Council. He is also a member of the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt Responsible Leaders Network and the Eurasia Foundation Young Professionals Network.
Emre is a frequent public commentator on emerging markets, and the energy industry; and made television and print appearances on different media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Reuters, Foreign Policy, and Bloomberg.
Dr Ebru Turhan works as Assistant Professor for Political Science and the Vice-Director of the Institute of Social Sciences at the Turkish-German University of Istanbul. She is also the coordinator of the Jean Monnet Module INSITER “Inside the Turkey-EU Relations” co-financed by the European Commission.
During 2013-2014 she was a Mercator-IPC Fellow at the IPC in the thematic area of EU/German-Turkish relations. Her current research interests lie in EU-Turkey affairs, Germany’s European policy, German-Turkish relations and the refugee crisis.
Turhan received a Master’s degree in Contemporary European Studies from the University of Bath and a doctorate degree in Political Science from the University of Cologne. During 2006-2013, Turhan worked at the Berlin Representation of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD), where she held the position of Senior Expert and Project Manager.
Kata Dorottya Udvarhelyi works for the Hungarian Foreign Service and is currently assigned to the Political Section of the Hungarian Embassy in Berlin, Germany. Prior to that, she worked as an Exchange Diplomat in the European Department of the German Federal Foreign Office in Berlin as well as for the Government Commissioner for the EU Danube Region Strategy in Budapest, among other jobs.
Kata did her Bachelor’s and her Master’s degrees in Germany and studied for some time in the USA as a scholar of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). She completed a post-graduate programme in Foreign Affairs at the Hungarian Károli Gáspár University.
Dr Vivian Valencia is an interdisciplinary scientist who utilises perspectives and methods from the natural and social sciences to investigate the socio-ecological processes that shape agricultural landscapes and food systems and the consequences for food security, ecosystems and biodiversity. She is currently a Research Fellow at Wageningen University, where she will become an Assistant Professor in the autumn of 2019. She earned her PhD from Columbia University in 2015.
Dr Valencia’s research and professional career have been supported by the National Geographic Early Career Grant, PRIME Fellowship of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and Marie Curie Programme of the European Commission, Bill and Melinda Gates Millenium Scholarship among others.
Dr Valencia is active in the policy sphere, where she aims to close the gap between science and policy-making. She is a former member of the GDL’s Advisory Council; a BMW Responsible Leader; an alumna of several programmes of the Bosch Foundation; an alumna of the Managing Global Governance Training Programme of the German Development Institute (DIE); and an alumna of the “International Futures” programme of Training for International Diplomats of the German Federal Foreign Office.
Read more about Vivian here.
Krisztina Dóra Varju currently works at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary as a European foreign policy advisor to the Deputy State Secretary responsible for European and American Affairs. At the beginning of her professional carrier, she worked as a coordination team member for the Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2011. Through winning a competitive state scholarship, she went on working on German-Hungarian bilateral relations, spending three months at the Hungarian Embassy in Berlin in 2013.
Moving on, she focused on Central European regional cooperation, acting as a deputy national coordinator during Hungary’s Presidency of the Visegrad Group between 2013 - 2014.
She truly believes in the unity of the European countries and the growing role and potential of regional thinking in a rapidly globalising world.
Pilar Vilaplana graduated in law from the University of Seville (Spain) in 2000 and obtained a Master’s in evaluation of public policies and programmes. After passing a national competitive examination in 2004, she became a civil servant, joining the High Body of Civil Administrators of the State. She has worked at ministries such as Foreign Affairs, Culture, Justice and Health Social Services and Equality.
In 2011/2012, Pilar became a fellow of the Bellevue Programme and moved to Berlin to work for the German Government, at the Secretary of State for Culture and the Media. She is currently serving as Senior Advisor in charge of International Relations of the Government Office against Gender-based violence. Besides her career in public administration, she is an art lover with training in theatre arts and photography and has worked as a professional actress in several plays in Spain and abroad.
Mercator-IPC Fellow at SWP, Berlin. Since 2007, she also is the director and a co-founder of "Populari", a think-tank based in Sarajevo.
Prior to founding "Populari", she collaborated with the ESI, a think-tank based in Berlin, on projects related to governance issues. She has led Balkan-wide projects at the Human Rights Centre at Sarajevo University and at the Spanish Institutional Programme for institutional cooperation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region. She also worked with the State Court prosecutor’s team (war crimes chamber) and at the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
She earned an MSc in international public policy from the University College London and a BA from the Law School at the University of Sarajevo, along with studying the penal system in Graz, Austria. Finally, she completed an Executive Education programme of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Annegret Warth is an educational scientist focusing on international comparative youth and youth welfare research. As a Mercator-IPC fellow she is inquiring the status of networks between local civil society and municipalities in Turkey, with a specific focus on youth work and policy. In her doctoral thesis, she is exploring heterogeneous manifestations of the youth phase in Turkey. Prior to that, she worked as a project leader of the German national network “Research and Practice in Dialogue” fostering innovation in youth exchange and as a research and teaching fellow at the Goethe University of Frankfurt.
Since 2010, Annegret has been active at the intersection of research and practice in the field of youth work and youth exchange with a focus on Turkey. She is active as a consultant for stakeholders of youth exchange including the German-Turkish Youth Bridge, the International Youth Service of the Federal Republic of Germany (IJAB), and Stiftung Mercator. From 2008 to 2010 she worked as a youth worker and project coordinator at the Centre for Civil Society Studies at Istanbul Bilgi University.
Andreas is the managing director of a start-up owned by The Linde Group. This summer, the company launched the world’s first car-sharing service based on completely emission-free hydrogen-powered cars.
Andreas has several years of experience in e-mobility and energy storage. Prior to his work at Linde, he was as a senior management consultant with Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, focusing on renewable energy projects.
Andreas holds a bachelor’s degree in business from the Technical University of Munich and a master’s degree in strategy and international business from St. Gallen Business School, as well as an MBA from Nanyang Business School, Singapore.
Andreas has a passion for international relations and is an alumnus of Mercator Foundation’s Chinese-German Young Professional Campus 2014 and of the Bucerius Summer School on Global Governance 2016.
Born and raised close to Munich in Germany, Stefan entered higher education after a commercial-technical apprenticeship via the second educational pathway. He studied industrial engineering at both the Technical University in Ingolstadt, Germany and the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, USA.
What runs like a continuous thread through all his professional activities so far is the topic of mobility: Stefan started his professional career within the automotive industry in the area of vehicle engineering at Magna Steyr in Austria. He moved from road to air transportation and joined the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company EADS, today Airbus. Various assignments and missions in Toulouse, Munich and Marseille have clearly shaped his passion for aviation. During this period he earned an MBA from the Graduate School of Business of the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
As a next step, Stefan took the opportunity to explore the rail sector and joined Bombardier Transportation as Head of Strategy, Business Development and Corporate Secretary based in Berlin, Germany. Only recently, Stefan returned to Airbus and joined its smallest but most fascinating division, Helicopters. He is in charge of governmental helicopter programmes, including major cooperation projects and partnerships with US companies.
He likes travelling, sports (skiing, tennis) and enjoys music and reading books. Stefan is married and has two children.
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.
Rong Yang is Vice President for Finance Business Partners and Strategy Americas at Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc., based in New Jersey.
Before working in industry, he was a diplomat and served as Chief Translator (German) for the President and the Prime Minister of China. Besides a short employment at McKinsey as a consultant, he has been working for the Bayer Group in various functions and countries including China, Germany, Austria, and the United States. Prior to his current role, he was Bayer Pharmaceutical's Country Group Head for Czech Republic and Slovakia, based in Prague. He was in charge of Bayer Pharmaceutical’s research and development, marketing and sales activities in both countries.
Rong is active in various professional associations and advises social enterprises and entrepreneurs interested in healthcare. He holds a Master’s degree in Economics as well as a MBA from Harvard Business School.