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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Trini Saona is a journalist and diplomat of the Foreign Service of Chile, currently specialising in innovation diplomacy by actively working at the Alfredo Zolezzi Foundation, a non-profit organisation set up by Chilean innovator Alfredo Zolezzi, whose proprietary innovation model aims to connect advanced science and technology with emerging social and environmental challenges.
Between 2013 and 2015, she served at the Chilean Embassy in Mexico, where she was responsible for economic affairs, the Pacific Alliance and the Ibero-American Conference. Prior to that, she worked in the office of the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, studying issues involved in landlocked countries and access to the sea for two years.
She speaks Spanish, English and French. She tries to spend as much time as possible hiking the Andes along with her Nikon D810. To stay in shape she loves to train, jog and swim in the capital of Santiago.
Learn more about Trinidad in her blog post.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.