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.
In September 2015, the #FullStop to #childsexualabuse campaign that Eirliani led on behalf of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi reached 16 million people over six weeks. She won the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Award the same year.
Eirliani edited 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 won joint second prize in the 2020 Golden Door Awards.
She also contributed a case study to the medical textbook Essentials of Global Health, co-edited by Babulal Sethia, Past President and Global Health Lead of the Royal Society of Medicine, which was published by Elsevier in London in 2018. The book won first prize in the Public Health category at the 2019 British Medical Association book awards.
Eirliani 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. She is a Fellow of the London-based Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.
Eirliani lives in Singapore. She speaks Malay, English, German and Russian.
Read more about Eirliani in her latest blog article. You can also read her articles about her polar expedition and about human trafficking and learn more about her work, activism and contribution to the Gender Alliance.
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.
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).
“I give a little here, I give a little there and I keep a little for myself.”
A half-Syrian, half-German entrepreneur, Tarek Alsaleh has won lots of international awards and acclaim. He also changed the law in Syria to set up his own sports projects across the Middle East and beyond. Uniquely, the projects he started are now locally owned, creating new jobs and fostering youth leadership. Tarek’s projects have helped over 100,000 refugees, abused women and children with cancer and put the art form capoeira created by slaves in Brazil on the global humanitarian map.
Tarek has now set his sights on even greater goals – he wants to change the aid system and abolish the middlemen through innovation and tech so that local people receive more of the funding.
Learn more about his work in this blog post.
Hanina Ben Bernou serves as an Officer at the Delegation of the European Union to the United Arab Emirates. She began working for the EU in 2010 - first addressing complex, global and emerging security threats.
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.
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.
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.
Marty Castro is President and CEO of Castro Synergies, LLC, which provides strategic consulting services to persons and organisations seeking to have a positive social impact on diverse communities. He is also President and CEO of Casa Central, one of the largest Latino-serving social services agencies in the Midwestern United States.
In 2011, President Barack Obama appointed Mr Castro to a six-year term on the United States Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR), also nominating Mr Castro to be the first Latino Chairperson in the history of the USCCR. Mr. Castro has received numerous awards and accolades for his community service, including the Ohtli Award, the Mexican government’s highest honour presented to those outside of Mexico for service to the Mexican diaspora.
Mr Castro is the recipient of three honorary doctorates of Humane Letters from Roosevelt University, DePaul University, and Governor’s State University. He received his Bachelor’s in Political Science from DePaul University and his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Michigan Law School.
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.
Nicola Forster is the President of Swiss Society of Common Good (SSCG) and the Co-President of Swiss Green Liberal Party (GLP) in Canton Zurich. Until 2019, he was also the Founding President of the Swiss crowdsourced think tank foraus (Forum Aussenpolitik) and remains 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.
Laura Gardner is a Counsel with WarnerMedia, where she advises the global WarnerMedia business on data privacy and protection issues. She previously worked in the US Department of Commerce's Office of the Chief Counsel for International Commerce, where she focused on a variety of international trade issues, including investment, trade in services, and 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 JD 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Elizabeth has twenty years’ experience in addressing complex challenges. She works in cross-sectoral, trans-professional, multi-stakeholder settings, providing support in problem solving and decision making processes and facilitating learning and the exchange of ideas and information. She has extensive experience in international cooperation, development cooperation, and private sector development.
Elizabeth is active in cross-cultural groups, from grassroots level to global platforms, assisting in the professional development of leaders and the formation of, teams, policies, strategies, plans, and business models that contribute to addressing development challenges. She brings skills in capacity building, knowledge management, facilitation, conflict resolution and management, as well as experience as an entrepreneur gained through a wide variety of assignments. She lives in Nairobi, works across the world, and speaks English, Swahili, German and French.
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.
Since 2010, he is president of the Democratic Party of Uganda. 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.
Kyle Matthews is the Executive 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.
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.
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.
Seth Oppenheim is a Foreign Service Officer with the US Department of Commerce with extensive international law and national security experience with a focus on Europe. Before joining the US Department of Commerce, Seth was a Trial Attorney with the Office of International Affairs, Criminal Division, of the US Department of Justice. As an attorney with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, he received the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Furthering the Interests of US National Security for his role as the FBI representative on an interagency team that successfully negotiated the US-EU Data Protection and Privacy Agreement with the European Commission and the National Intelligence Meritorious Unit Citation as part of an interagency team that implemented the 2015 USA Freedom Act. Seth has been an attorney for the US Department of Defense and was also a Foreign Service Officer with the US Department of State.
Prior to joining government, Seth was a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow to Germany where he worked in the Office of the Legal Adviser of the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. Seth has twice been a Fulbright Scholar: first to Austria and then to France where he worked at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris. Seth was also an attorney and law clerk in the Office of the Prosecutor of both the International Criminal Court and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague where he assisted in the prosecution of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.
A native of the Detroit area, Seth earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School, both a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Michigan, and a Master of Advanced International Studies from the University of Vienna/Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. He is a member of the bar of the State of New York and the US Supreme Court. He speaks French and German.
Diego Osorio is the Manager of Policy Team at the Centre for Rural Development, Canada’s Ministry of Infrastructure and previously Senior Advisor on Climate Security at CGIAR Climate Security. He is a PhD candidate (Utrecht University) and former Canadian diplomat with 23 years of public administration and international experience covering the UN, NATO, the World Bank, Canadian diplomacy, and private sector ventures.
Diego has worked globally on diplomatic/political and economic matters, climate change-conflict/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 à Montréal (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, conflict and climate change, 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 and is an Adjunct Professor of Master of Public Policy at Adler University, Canada.
Ivana is an experienced professional with more than a decade of work in the field of international projects, public administration, and civil society. She was engaged with the Global Diplomacy Lab, both as freelance project manager and an elected advisory council member.
She worked for the Government of the Republic of Serbia as Communications Officer to the Head of the Negotiating Team for the Accession of Serbia to the European Union. Prior to that, she was Public Relations and Project Manager at the European Movement in Serbia. She also led the media team of the international conference Belgrade Security Forum.
Ivana is a graduate of the Hertie School of Governance, Executive Master of Public Administration programme in Berlin, the Faculty of Political Sciences of the University of Belgrade with focus on international relations, and the Diplomatic Academy of Serbia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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.
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 is an international lawyer and policy specialist with more than ten years of work experience in five continents. She currently works for the United Nations Climate Change agency on adaptation and the project on Resilience Frontiers.
She has worked for UN-Habitat as Project Manager for Local Authorities on SDG Goal 11, the Urban Legislation Advisor and the New Urban Agenda Partnership Advisor in Kenya and Thailand.
Jasdeep has consulted on transboundary waters and interlinks with fragility, migration and climate change (for the World Bank, Oxfam, the Government of India, the German Development Institute and the German Federal Environment Ministry); on water security (OECD, Harvard); on global governance reforms and cities (Bosch); sanitation contracts (Gates); justice and federal reforms (the Government of India) and constitutional design (Nepal). She has clerked at the Supreme Court of India and the High Court of Hong Kong, and taught courses in law and public policy in India, New Zealand, Kenya and the United States.
Jasdeep has been selected for various leadership fellowships and made policy recommendations in global forums on governance trends (migration, the Syrian conflict, transitional justice, digital technology, social entrepreneurship, climate change and human rights), including the G20 Forum; at COP23; as a BMW Foundation World Responsible Leader; a Robert Bosch Fellow; a Global Diplomacy Lab member; Federal Foreign Office Training for International Diplomats; UNLEASH; the Global Media Forum and the Brandt Conference.
She has a strong publishing record and interdisciplinary skillset including negotiation and mediation, policy analysis, public international law, human rights, leadership theory, SDGs, foresight analysis and systems design.
A recipient of several international scholarships, she has a Master’s in Law from Yale, a Bachelor’s in Civil Law from Oxford, a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy, and a JD from GLC Mumbai.
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 heading a project on multi-stakeholder-partnerships to implement the 2030 Agenda at GIZ.
Previously, Susanne started the United Actors, an innovative start-up in the global governance scene, worked at the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Action Campaign, at the Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP), ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the OECD and UN Volunteers. In 2012, Susanne managed the involvement of local governments in the UN Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development on behalf of ICLEI.
In her free time Susanne enjoys rowing and competes in 100km rowing races on the Rhine.
Read more about Susanne in her blog article.
Sabrina Schärf is an Attachée at the German Foreign Office currently posted in Lissabon.
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.
Dr Quilan 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 Quilan Shen 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.
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.
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 Assistant Professor at Wageningen University. 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.
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.