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 is a student in the doctoral program in public health at Harvard University where she is a Prajna Leadership and Julio Frenk DrPH Fellow. She is a co-founder of YAKIN (Youth, Adult Survivors & Kin In Need), an NGO working in the field of child rights and child protection issues, and a Chatham House Member. In news that went viral for her speaking out against the meteoric rise in hate speech since Elon Musk's purchase of Twitter, Eirliani resigned from Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council in December 2022.
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.
She is an award-winning author. She was lead editor of "The Demographic Dividend and the Power of Youth. Voices from the Global Diplomacy Lab", a peer-reviewed compendium of essays on the demographic dividend (Anthem Press 2021). Eirliani 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 (Elsevier 2018). The book won first prize under the Public Health category in the 2019 British Medical Association book awards. She is co-author of "Survivors: Breaking the Silence on Child Sexual Abuse" (Marshall Cavendish 2017). Now in its third print run, the book won joint 2nd Prize at the inaugural Golden Doors Award in September 2020. She edited Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi's book "Will for Children" (Prabhat Prakashan 2016).
Eirliani worked in Singapore’s Foreign Service from 2005 to 2015, serving in Berlin as First Secretary (Political) and then in Delhi as Political Counsellor. From June 2015 to November 2017 she was a member of the Advisory Council of the Global Diplomacy Lab. She is a Fellow of the London-based Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.
A graduate of the London School of Economics and Warwick University, Eirliani was a British Council Pathfinder scholar. She speaks English, Malay and German fluently, and has rudimentary understanding of Arabic, French, Hindi, Mandarin 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.
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 African Women’s Forum, the World Economic Forum, Gucci’s Chime for Change campaign and the World Future Council. She has served as a member of the Ogun State Cabinet, where she advised the Governor on trade and investment. From 2011 to 2015, she was the Special Advisor on MDGs. She was Women in Africa Ambassador for Nigeria in 2017, a member of the Board in 2018 and has served as President of the organisation since May 2018.
She holds a BA (honours) from Harvard College in development economics and a Master’s in international development from Tsinghua University. She is married and has two children.
Raghda Abu-Shahla is a humanitarian worker and activist for a better future with peace, security and democracy in Palestine. She holds a Master’s degree in Regional Studies from the Al-Quds University (Abu Dis). Her work in Gaza with national and international organisations has enriched her understanding of global peace, security and development challenges. She has worked on health management development projects at the office of the Palestinian Health Minister; with UNOPS on implementing security training for commercial crossings with Israel; and with the International Security Team at UNRWA. She currently holds the position of Communication Officer at the WHO’s Gaza office.
Raghda is Chair of the Board of Directors of Theatre Day Productions; a Leader for Democracy Fellow of Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, USA; a scholar of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; a Fellow of the International Peace and Security Institute providing mentoring to dozens of Peace Leaders; a Fellow of the Asian Forum on Global Governance India; and a member of the BMW Foundation’s community of responsible leaders working to promote and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. She has contributed to several of the Wilson Center publications and has published a book titled Revolution by Love: Emerging Arab Youth Voices. Raghda is listed as a member of the Bulbula women experts, which is an online directory of the most eloquent female commentators and speakers from the Middle East.
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 2019, 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.
Afifa Adouani Saidane
Afifa Adouani Saidane is preparing the organisational and practical texts of the Journal of Local Communities with a focus on local government and is a member of the committees, charged with the various national programmes for the development of human resources in the civil service.
Currently, she is running a campaign for the legislative elections in order to better serve the country and to reinforce the position of women in parliament and in leadership positions.
Heba Aguib joined BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt in July 2019 and is Chief Executive for RESPOND, empowering sustainable tech, innovation and business through responsible leadership – towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda. She is also a member of the Foundation’s Responsible Leaders Network.
Heba played a major role in establishing the Aswan Heart Research Centre of the Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation in Egypt. As head of its Biomedical Engineering and Innovation Laboratory and an Honorary Fellow at Imperial College London, she worked on early diagnosis and prediction modelling in cardiovascular disease. She is the HealthTech Expert for the Digital Arabia Network.
Heba studied Mechanical Engineering at TU München (TUM) in Germany, worked at the Department of Aerodynamics at BMW AG and received a doctoral degree in Medical Device Technology at TUM. She also joined TU Berlin as Deputy Managing Director in 2011 to help establish the first campus of a German public university in MENA and Africa.
Netta Ahituv is a senior magazine correspondent at Haaretz newspaper and is the editor of the family section. She is based in Tel Aviv. In 2014 she won the Pratt Prize for journalism in the category of “Extensive and Important Body of Work”. In addition, she has a weekly spot in a TV debate on foreign affairs on the national Israeli channel.
She has an MA in Environmental Philosophy and a BA in Biology and Humanities, both from Tel Aviv University.
She founded a women’s soccer league in Israel, in which women play soccer weekly as a hobby and as an empowering tool. Netta managed to bring 8,600 solar lights to children in Gaza who are off the electricity grid. The project was called Little Suns to Gaza and presented many challenges, especially overcoming obstacles created by the Israeli and Palestinian authorities. Nevertheless, the solar lights passed the border and were handed over to the children. The initiative proved that there is indeed a crack in everything and that's how the light gets in.
Shakeel 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. Furthermore he is head of Zalmi Foundation.
Shakeel 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 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (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 for 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.
At the same time she tries in any way possible to contribute positively to society and the world at large.
Aroub is very interested in development and conflict resolution.
Haila Al-Mekaimi is a senior adviser for the Kuwaiti Union for Women's NGOS. She is also Professor of Political Science at Kuwait University, College of Social Sciences and Head of the Euro-Gulf Research Unit at Kuwait University. She received her Ph.D in Political Science from Boston College and her MA in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, where she also earned her diploma in Jewish Studies and the Hebrew language.
From 2013 until 2017 Haila Al-Mekaimi served as Undersecretary for the Ministry of Information. She is a columnist for al-Nahar, daily local newspaper in Kuwait; she also writes for the newspaper al-sharq al-awsat.
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 (JIK / Young Islam Conference), the flagship project of Mercator Foundation in immigration and integration. He worked for the Democracy-Centre and the Advice Center on Counter Radicalisation in the Department on Social Cohesion at the Saxon State Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Cohesion. In 2023 he returned to the JIK as Head of Programme at Schwarzkopf Foundation.
Read more about Khaldun in his blog article.
Khaldun is also the host of the GDL Coffee Break podcast. Every three weeks, he guests a member and talks to them about their profession, inspirations and urgent global issues, to name just a few topics. The podcast is available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Summaries of the episodes are also posted on the blog.
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 Fora 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).
Get to know her opinion on how ownership of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development can be increased in this interview.
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.
Zeynep Alraqeb is a multilingual economist with experience in economics, social entrepreneurship and politics. She is based in Paris and works at the Banque de France on macroeconomic topics related to emerging economies, focusing on China. Before moving to France, she served the Deutsche Bundesbank for several years, contributing to issues relating to economic and financial micro data management and processing.
Zeynep is an MSc Economics graduate of the University of Warwick and the University of Cologne, where she was a Friedrich Ebert Scholar. She studied abroad in Turkey and in the USA, where she was a Fulbright Scholar.
Beside her professional work, she also serves as a head of the Zahnräder Network, a social incubator, bringing passionate young professionals from all around Germany together.
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.
Erlita Anwar is a professional in international affairs. She was an exchange participant of AIESEC and is a Fulbright alumna. She holds a BA degree in International Relations from Airlangga University and an MA degree in Diplomacy from the University of Kentucky. She graduated from mid-career diplomatic training.
Erlita is passionate about public diplomacy and has participated in the Asia-Europe Public Diplomacy Training Initiative. She serves at the Directorate of Public Diplomacy where she manages and promotes socio-cultural programmes, scholarship awards, as well as interfaith and intercultural dialogue. Before that, she served at the Indonesian Mission in Prague as a junior diplomat and in Wellington as Second Secretary in Economic Affairs, where she was in charge of maintaining and assisting trade and investment relations, promoting tourism, building networks, and coordinating events and programmes. She will soon be assigned as First Secretary to the Indonesian Mission in Nouméa.
She speaks Javanese, Bahasa, English, understands Korean and is also learning French.
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.
Virginie is currently working at the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission. Before that, she served as a diplomat at the Embassy of Luxembourg in Turkey for 6 years until the summer of 2020, covering political issues. These included Turkey's domestic affairs, foreign policy, human rights, Turkey-EU relations and the response to the refugee crisis. She was also involved in the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2015. She has previously worked for the EU Delegation in Turkey and at the Embassy of France in Turkey as an economic analyst. She is involved in the Jean Monnet programme in Turkey.
Virginie Arslan graduated from the Institute of Political Sciences of Strasbourg and from the Sorbonne University in Paris. She is a Fellow of the Stiftung Mercator 2018 “Turkey Europe Future Forum” programme. She was the Turkish women’s triathlon champion in 2016 and 2019 in her age group and regularly participates in ultra-trails, marathons, open water and half-Ironman races.
Allen Sophia Asiimwe
Allen Sophia Asiimwe is an Ugandan advocate and policy leader with over 20 years’ experience as a development advisor and practitioner. She is passionate about shaping Africa’s narrative on governance, trade, and regional integration and development issues. She has designed and managed programmes for government agencies, private sector, civil society and donors across the African region.
Allen is the Chief Technical Officer at TradeMark East Africa, charged with driving the technical and strategic direction of the organisation, now operational across 12 countries of East and Southern Africa. The goal is to increase trade through reducing cost and time of doing business, whilst also expanding capabilities for export growth and development in the region.
She is also the co-founder of the Girls For Girls Global Mentoring Initiative that seeks to Empower girls and young women to lead in changing their circumstances and their communities. The initiative is now running in 13 countries and seeks to reach 10,000 mentors and one million mentees by 2025.
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. In 2016 he participated in the professional short course at the Vienna Centre for Disarmament and Nuclear Non-Proliferation.
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 freelancer for publishing houses and architects and organises cultural and social projects, as well as exhibitions. Before moving to Buenos Aires, she lived in Berlin for 15 years. While being art director and chief producer at the publishing house Verlag Klaus Wagenbach, she converted part of her home into a project space for contemporary artists from 2004 to 2014.
The “18m” gallery led Julie to other curatorial projects. She has been directing the women artists’ network “Frauenmuseum Berlin” and is involved with the feminist artists’ forum “Nosotras Proponemos”. She is an active member of th collective "Asamblea Desobediente", fighting for memory, truth and justice alongside other human rights organisations. With Liliana Furió, she co-organises the monthly "Cinedebate Desobediente", online discussions about human rights-related films.
Julie studied German literature in Munich and graphic design in Leipzig. 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.
Roman Baiduk was born on 10 March 1981 and from the age of five lived in Dnipropetrovsk, USSR (now Dnipro in Ukraine). After leaving grammar school in 1998 with a golden medal, Roman graduated magna cum laude as a Master of Law at Dnipro National University in 2003. Roman practised for several years.
In 2016 Roman won a full scholarship for a Master’s degree programme at the College of Europe and graduated as an M.A. in European Interdisciplinary Studies in 2017.
Roman became a state official as Head of the Department of Legal Affairs and International Cooperation of the Academy of Patrol Police in Kyiv in November 2017. He actively participates in civic life as a member of the Professional Government Association (an association of the Ukrainian alumni of western universities who returned to Ukraine and joined their efforts in order to facilitate democratic reforms).
Roman's main academic interests are democracy studies, security studies, history and IR (especially of CEE). He has written several academic papers and participated in conferences. His personal hobbies are hiking, swimming and reading science fiction.
Florian Bankoley was born in Germany but spent his early years in Togo, West Africa, before returning to Germany at the age of eight. Ever since he has enjoyed immersing himself in different cultures and societies, enriching his perception and understanding of the world.
His studies and later work assignments have taken him to different European countries such as France, the UK and Sweden, and across the oceans to the USA, India, China and Indonesia.
After graduating from the ESCP Europe with a Master’s degree in Management, he joined Robert Bosch where he has held a range of positions. He is now head of IT for the automotive business area of Bosch, the largest domain in the group responsible for half of total revenue. In his spare time he loves to spend time with his family, and if time permits to read and exercise.
Originally from Bolivia, Cecilia Barja Chamas is passionate about working for the dignity and inclusion of all. Since 2021, Cecilia has been working for the Listening and Dialogue Section of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. She is engaged in supporting the local churches and Episcopal Conferences in Latin America in the spheres of human rights, health, justice, peace, economy and work, as well as in efforts to care for our “common home” and to address the migration and other humanitarian emergencies.
In 1999, she co-founded the political party “Movimiento Sin Miedo” and was elected the youngest city councilwoman in 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. In September 2017, Cecilia joined the North Carolina Congress of Latino Organizations as a community organiser This grassroots network builds relationships between races and religions on issues of common concern such as housing and education.
She is a board member of Nativa, working for sustainability in the Gran Chaco Biome, Vice-Chair of El Futuro, a non-profit clinic providing culturally responsive mental health services for Spanish-speaking immigrants, and a member of the Parish Council of Immaculate Conception Church in Durham, North Carolina. Cecilia holds a Master’s degree in public administration from Harvard Kennedy School, has three lovely kids, and a supportive husband.
Read more about her vision of the GDL's communication strategy on our blog.
Dulguun Batmunkh is a development cooperation professional experienced in designing and implementing multi-stakeholder partnership projects. She is currently pursuing a MA in international policy at Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences as a Knight-Hennesey Scholar. In her previous position as the Program Manager of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Mongolia, she focused 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.
Dulguun also chatted with GDL Coffee Break podcast host Khaldun Al Saadi about education. A summary and the links to the episode can be found here.
Graca Bauleth-D’Almeida holds a BSc in Biology from Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania, USA in 1990 and an MSc in Marine, Estuarine and Environmental Sciences from the University of Maryland obtained in 1998.
She joined the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources as a Fisheries Biologist in 1993, progressing to the rank of Principal Fisheries Biologist in 2001, then Chief Fisheries Biologist in 2004 and Deputy Director in 2010. Since 2012 she has been the Director of Resource Management, overseeing the research and management of Namibia’s living marine resources and ensuring the health of the marine environment.
Over the years, she has conducted research on several aspects of the Benguela Current ecosystem as well as on all the commercial resources and has thereby amassed experience in acoustic survey methodology, resource dynamics and behaviour as well as the oceanographic aspects of the system. Graca D’Almeida has also acquired management skills and has a good grasp of good governance principles. She was instrumental in the establishment of the Benguela Current Convention, as the head of the Namibian negotiating team, and and played a key role in the formation of the National Commission on Research, Science and Technology as a Commissioner.
She has represented Namibia in several international fora, inter alia, UNCLOS (States Parties Meetings and International Seabed Authority), ICCAT and SEAFO, in some cases as head of delegation.
Graca D’Almeida is fluent in five languages, including three international working languages, namely English, Spanish and Portuguese. She has authored and co-authored several scientific publications on the horse mackerel resource in the Benguela Ecosystem.
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.
Gunnar Berkemeier has been working at the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations in New York since October 2017, focusing on UN peace operations.
Previously, he worked as speechwriter in the Minister’s Office and in the Cabinet and Parliament Affairs Division of the Federal Foreign Office, at the German Embassy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Permanent Mission of Germany to the UN in Geneva. He has also worked for the United Nations Development Programme and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Hanina Ben Bernou serves as Regional Adviser for International Cooperation at the European Union Delegation to the United Arab Emirates.
Previously, she was also an Adviser at the European Union Delegations to Kenya and to Somalia and a Programme Manager at the European Commission Directorate-General for International Partnerships. Hanina has more than ten years of diplomatic, programmatic and analytical experience in support of EU foreign and security policy, partnerships and aid at HQ and in Somalia, Kenya and the countries of the Gulf, Horn of Africa and Red Sea region. Her previous work experience in the private sector also allowed her to deepen her understanding of a wide range of topics related to energy and water.
Hanina holds a degree in law and in political science. She studied in Potsdam, Paris and Aix-en-Provence.
Hanina is a cosmopolitan migrant who has German-Algerian roots and a French-German education and has lived and worked in the UAE, Kenya, Somalia, Belgium, France, Spain and Algeria.
Nina Bernarding is the co-founder and Germany Co-Executive Director of the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy. She is a peace support professional with considerable expertise in the Horn of Africa.
Previously, she worked for the Dialogue, Mediation and Peace Support Structures Programme at the Berghof Foundation in Berlin and 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. Before that, she worked with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York City. Nina also worked at 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.
Hélène de Bock
Born in Switzerland to Belgian diplomat parents, Hélène de Bock spent her childhood zigzagging across a number of countries experiencing historic changes: the former USSR (Moscow, 1982-1985), the US (NY 1985-1989), Germany (1989-1992) and Belgium (Brussels 1992-2006).
Trained as an economist, she spent her early professional life working in the field of Consultancy (Accounting, Compliance and Risk Management for PricewaterhouseCoopers) and Project Management (DePost), which enabled her to gain in-depth experience in governance, financial, IT, operational and other dynamics inherent to business processes and decision-making.
After passing the Belgian Diplomatic Exam in 2006, she started her career in public service working in the political section at the Belgian Embassies in New Delhi and London, as well as the European Delegation in New Delhi, continuing to develop an expertise in foreign and defence policy issues. At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Brussels, Hélène has worked for the Press and Communications Office and the Office of the European Correspondent. She was Deputy Director for Human Rights and Democracy during her last stint in Brussels, from 2013 to 2018.
On a personal level, Hélène de Bock is passionate about literature, politics, music and visual arts (photography in particular). She is married and has three children.
Hélène also chatted with GDL Coffee Break podcast host Khaldun Al Saadi about sustainability. The episode can be downloaded here.
Max Bouchet is a senior policy analyst and project manager at the Brookings Institution, affiliated with the Center for Sustainable Development and the Global Economy & Development Programme.
Connecting with scholars, diplomats, businesses, city and community leaders from countries of the Global South and North, he researches the making of stronger local communities. He co-manages the Brookings SDG Leadership Cities network to develop relationships and solutions with city leaders to advance sustainability and inclusion. Passionate about the role of local governments in addressing global challenges, Max works to elevate the leadership and innovative power of cities in multilateral diplomacy.
Over 2018-2020, Max combined his research on global cities with a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship (Global Governance Futures 2030) and a Policy Center for the New South Fellowship (Atlantic Dialogues Emerging Leader). Previously, he was chief analyst of Conway, Inc., an Atlanta-based economic development consulting firm. Max graduated from the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po Paris, France) with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and a Master’s degree in Public Affairs.
Read more about his vision on city-to-city diplomacy here.
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 an experienced manager of international dialogues and cooperation projects between Germany and its global partners such as China, India, Brazil, Mexico and Indonesia.
He is currently based in Berlin and leads the Global Project Quality Infrastructure (www.gpqi.org), which is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of for the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Previously, Johannes served as an advisor for Strategy and Portfolio Development at GIZ’s China Office in Beijing.
Johannes is an alumni of the Mercator Foundation’s 2014 Zukunftsbrücke - Chinese-German Young Professional Campus and is a founding member of the Global Diplomacy Lab (GDL).
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.
Kathryn Bryk Friedman, PhD, Esq., is a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and Research Faculty at SUNY Buffalo.
She is a recognised foreign policy expert in border security, water governance, migration and human rights, as well as trade and innovation, and has provided strategic advice to government officials in regions including Central Europe, the EU, Africa, Latin America, and most recently North America, with a focus on Canada. She has experience leading Track 1.5-2 diplomacy.
Kathryn has also served as a Fulbright Fellow (Germany) and an Abshire Inamori Leadership Fellow at CSIS in Washington, DC. Kathryn frequently provides guest commentaries in various media, including The Hill and NPR. She clerked for two appellate judges and is admitted to practice before the US Supreme Court. She is a Leadership Circle member of Foreign Policy for America.
Kathryn has a PhD in international relations and JD, magna cum laude, with a concentration in international law.
Driven by the belief that change begins with a single step, Richard Brubaker has been working in Asia to engage, inspire and equip those around him to take their first step since 2005.
Acting as a catalyst for driving sustainability, bringing about changes in leadership and business models, and recalibrating old models so that new opportunities can be seized, Brubaker’s work is centred around building foundations of knowledge, understanding core issues, engaging stakeholders, and doing what it takes to move forward. As Managing Director of Collective Responsibility, Founder and Executive Volunteer of HandsOn China and a former Visiting Professor of Sustainability at the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), Richard is focused on building platforms that promote long-term organisational capacity to address the economic, environmental and social hurdles that China faces as the country’s economic growth accelerates.
Richard has overseen the development and execution of more than 200 projects focused on solving social, environmental and economic challenges in Asia, and has facilitated more than 1,000,000 hours of volunteer work across Greater China through his charity, HandsOn China. Richard is regularly invited to speak about his work in social innovation & entrepreneurship, sustainability, corporate social responsibility and leadership.
Richard holds a Masters in International Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.
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.
Dr Noaquia Callahan is the founder and CEO of Colored Bird Institute LLC. – a scholarship education company for underserved students, educators and communities in the US and abroad.
Noaquia has experience working across the United States and abroad developing strategic grant initiatives focused on underrepresented minorities, creating community engagement projects linking race, mobility and transatlantic relations, and speaking with students on the opportunities competitive academic scholarships and international study can create.
When she’s not running her business, she’s living out her other dream in the classroom as an Assistant Professor of History at a community college in Southern California.
Noaquia was awarded the 2019 Obama Dissertation Award for her research on African American feminist transnational activism during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
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.
Rocío Cañas is an International Analyst and Cooperation Officer, currently studying for her second Masters degree on International Cooperation and Management of Public Policies and Development Programmes in Spain with a scholarship from the Carolina Foundation.
Rocío Cañas has worked for seven years in foreign policy, diplomatic relations, development cooperation and human rights. She has experience in both the public sector and non-profit organisations internationally, having worked as an International Relations Officer for Europe for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador, where she was in charge of the diplomatic relations with over 20 countries and the European Union, and as a Cooperation Officer for the National Foundation for Overcoming Poverty (FSP) in Chile, a non-profit organisation that promotes greater degrees of equity and social integration and submits public policys proposals, where she was involved in the design, implementation and management of international cooperation projects in Chile and Latin America.
She has supported Amnesty International by teaching Spanish to migrants in Chile and campaigning for human rights. Rocío Cañas has a Bachelor´s degree in International Relations and a Master´s degree in Management and Public Policy as a scholar of the International Cooperation Agency of Chile. Her main topics of interest include sustainable development, human rights and migration.
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.
In 2004, Theresa Carrington set out to address the issue of extreme poverty. Having grown up in poverty in the Midwest, she drew upon her life experiences to develop innovative approaches to ending poverty.
Today, Theresa and her team have pioneered a formula that sustainably ends poverty. Known as Ten by Three, the formula has been successfully replicated in eight developing nations, reignited more than 80 broken economies throughout three continents and positively impacted the lives of more than 8000 people and 32,000 of their family members.
Here is how the formula works: Theresa and her team buys ten artisan products a month at Prosperity Wages from an artisan for three years. The artisan is required to use part of their earnings to start three businesses. Within three years the artisan’s businesses grow to support them and they graduate from the Ten by Three Program. Theresa’s model is widely recognised, and she has received an honorary doctorate of humanities from Washington University in St. Louis for her pioneering work.
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.
Elif Perla is an EU affairs expert based in Brussels. She currently works as a consultant to the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Partnerships, and as an expert for the EU’s Sivil Dusun (Think Civil) Programme supporting civil society in Turkey. 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 of Roman Medya, she was actively involved in issues concerning human rights, anti-discrimination and Roma rights in Turkish civil society.
Ms. Perla holds a BA in Social and Political Science from Sabancı University, an MA in EU Foreign Policy and Security Issues from the University of Warwick, which she attended with a Jean Monnet Scholarship, and an MSc in Governance and Development from the University of Antwerp.
Brisa has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in International Relations from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and undertook a specialization in Global Governance at the German Development Institute (DIE).
In the past twelve years, she has collaborated with various international organisations, NGO’s and academic institutions on topics such as food security, migration, the strengthening of civil society, and international cooperation for development. 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 pieces and academic articles relating to fair trade, migration, NGOs, diplomacy and multi-stakeholder dialogues.
She currently works at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) office in Cuba, coordinating the development of the Food Sovereignty and Nutrition Education Plan.
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.
Born and raised in Venezuela, Seemi Choudry is the child of Pakistani immigrants. In the late 1990s, at the age of six, she moved with her family to Chicago. In 2010, she graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish.
Seemi Chourdry is a growth-focused thought leader with expertise spanning international relations, services coordination, programme design, innovative initiatives, strategic planning, project management, human rights activism, partnership cultivation, community outreach, and client relations. In 2016, she was appointed to the role of Director of the Office of New Americans for the City of Chicago where she worked on public policy and programmes directly impacting Chicago’s foreign-born community.
Seemi Choudry is currently a Robert Bosch Fellow focusing on Social Integration and Migration. During her Fellowship with the Robert Bosch Stiftung, she is analysing and researching best practices across European municipalities and civic society to enhance and integrate Europe’s migrant community.
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 Associate and Robert Bosch Fellow at the Queen Elizabeth II Academy for Leadership in International Affairs, Chatham House as well as an Associate Fellow at Chatham House.
Rodolfo Cordova Alcarez
Rodolfo Cordova Alcarez is the Regional Ambassador for the GLAC in the Americas, where he has been harnessing the interest of its members to create a community that advances change on a set of issues in the region.
He successfully participated at the Migration Laboratory, where he drove the work on the topic of narratives on migrants & refugees. Rodolfo Cordova Alcarez serves as Vice-President of Impacto Social Metropolitan Group – an agency that uses strategic communication to foster social change and for the past 15 years he has passionately worked on actively promoting and defending the rights of vulnerable people. He has worked in the Americas and Europe for international agencies, not for profit organisations and academia promoting human rights.
Rodolfo Cordova Alcarez has been involved in several multi-stakeholder processes relating to global development, including the SDGs and the Global Forum on Migration & Development.
Amy Coughenour Betancourt is a results-oriented social sector leader with a track record of starting, leading and growing social impact organisations and bold new initiatives to empower vulnerable people and communities around the world.
Coughenour Betancourt is the Chief Executive Officer of Cadasta Foundation, a non-profit organisation in Washington, DC founded in 2015 that uses innovative technologies and services to advance land and resource rights globally.
Prior to joining Cadasta in June 2018, Coughenour was the COO at the National Cooperative Business Association, CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) for nearly 7 years, leading a team of over 850 implementing food security, agriculture, and resilience projects in 20 countries. As Deputy Executive Director of the Pan American Development Foundation for 9 years, Coughenour led programmes and business development in over 25 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean working on remittances for development, community-led development, human rights, education, and other areas of human and economic development in the region.
She was the Deputy Director of the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) for 4.5 years, where she was editor of several policy publication series, managed operations and business development, and led innovative policy leadership initiatives on the Caribbean. After leaving CSIS, she served for 8 years as a CSIS Adjunct Fellow.
Coughenour holds an M.A. in International Policy Studies from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and a B.A. in German from Central College in Pella, Iowa. She spent a year on a teaching Fulbright scholarship in Germany; lived and worked in Mexico, Austria, Costa Rica and Germany.
She has served on the board of Interaction since 2016 and is on Interaction’s Executive Committee. She is also on the board of Manna Food Center, a community organisation in Maryland focused on combating food insecurity and ensuring access to food for all.
Ahmet Çörekcioğlu works as a civil servant at Zeytinburnu Municipality, Istanbul, where he is responsible for project grant calls such as Erasmus+, EU IPA programmes, Horizon 2020, the Black Sea Basin Cooperation Programme and activities in connection with embassies. His fields of expertise include town-twinning, local government diplomacy and municipal foreign affairs. Previously, he acquired professional skills in project management while working for a consultancy company and was involved in an NGO project on global environment facilities.
Ahmet volunteers in multiple civil society organisations such as the Zeytinburnu Cycling Club Association, the Turkey Photography Foundation and the UPS Club Association. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Relations from Ahmet Çörekcioğlu works as a civil servant at Zeytinburnu Municipality, Istanbul.
Marian Cramers is the Director of Development at The Democratic Society (Demsoc), a European NGO that works for more and better democracy through citizen participation in change management projects. Current projects include the Climate KIC Deep Demonstrations, urban regeneration in Sicily, and Populism and Civic Engagement (PaCE). Demsoc has also developed a focus on digital democratic spaces, through thought leadership, training and facilitation. Marian is based in Brussels, and supports the Demsoc presences in Milan, Edinburgh, Manchester and Berlin.
Marian Cramers is an MA graduate in Political Science, and in Business Economics. She has worked at London-based technology companies for seven years, specialising in consulting and partnerships around social media insights and digital transformation. This has included work with the NHS, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, NATO and a range of corporate clients, as well as an EMEA and APAC network of partners. She is also an active member of the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Network, a former board member of the Lewisham Refugee and Migrant network, and the producer of ‘The Hidden’, a documentary on hidden homelessness in Germany and the UK.
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.
Angelina Davydova is an environmental journalist from Saint Petersburg, Russia, and regularly contributes to Russian and international media, including the Kommersant, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, and Science magazine. She specializes in economic and political aspects of global and Russian climate policy, and has been covering the UN climate negotiations since 2008.
She teaches at the Saint Petersburg State University School of Journalism and the Saint Petersburg National research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics. She is also Director of the Office of Environmental Information in Saint Petersburg (a non-profit organization focusing on developing environmental journalism in Russia and neighbouring countries and promoting international cooperation in the environmental and climate fields).
She was a Reuters Foundation Fellow at Oxford University in 2006 and was a participant of the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) at UC Berkeley in 2012. In 2018-2019, she was a Humphrey Fellow at UC-Davis.
Read more about her thoughts on how to navigate climate change in Russia here. Or read more about her travel experiences here.
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 of Red Dot Foundation Global (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, Nigeria and Nepal.
She is an advisor to Women 7 (W7) under the German Presidency and part of the working group on Ending Gender based Violence. The W7 is a group of civil society organizations who come together to promote proposals on gender equality and women’s rights to governments within the Group of 7 (G7). At the same time, Elsa is a D&AD Awards Jury member for Impact (2021, 2022) and Future Impact (2021) and an Impact Council member.
Elsa Marie is an alumna of the US State Department’s Fortune Program, Stanford CDDRL as well as the Swedish Institute Management Program. She is a fellow with Gratitude Network, International Women's Forum, Yale World, Rotary Peace, Aspen New Voices , SE Forum, Vital Voices, Fast FWD Philadelphia, Chevening Gurukul at Oxford and a Reagan Fascell Democracy Fellow at NED. Moreover, Elsa is a BMW Responsible Leader, Bosch fellow and is listed as one of BBC Hindi’s 100 Women. She has won the Female Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the SheThePeople’s Digital Woman Award in Social Impact and the Vital Voices Global Leadership Award.
Prior to Safecity, she spent 20 years in the aviation industry, where she worked with Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines. In her last role in aviation, she was Vice President Network Planning.
Read more about Elsa's work at Safecity and see for yourself in this documentary. She also has a very clear vision for the Global Diplomacy Lab.
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 worked as a visiting adjunct professor at CERES (Center for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies) at Michigan State University. She sadly passed away on April 20, 2022.
Read more about Seçil in her blog article on american higher education.
Christoph Erber is a policy analyst with more than three years of professional experience on both sides of the Atlantic. He currently is chief of staff to the director at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). Previously, he worked at the Munich Security Conference (MSC).
Over the years, he has obtained a strong background in project management and digital communications, having worked for the Federal Foreign Office in South Africa and Azerbaijan. Christoph Erber completed his graduate studies at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Bologna and Washington, DC, specialising in European and Eurasian Studies as well as in Strategic Studies.
Previously, he completed his undergraduate degree in economics and political science at the Free University of Bolzano.
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 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 was the Founding Curator of the Global Shapers Bern Hub (World Economic Forum) and sits on the boards of the Fondation Science et Cité (as Vice President), Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences, Law and Economics Club as well as Foundation Jean Monnet pour l’Europe. Nicola is a Swiss Ashoka Fellow and Mercator Fellow ans is a member of the Swiss National Commission for UNESCO.
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.
Chris Fowler serves as Senior Director of Corporate Development at the USO (United Service Organisations), where he creates partnerships to support America’s military service members and keep them connected to family, home and country throughout their service to the nation. Since joining the USO in 2018, Chris raised over $5m in support of this mission.
A born storyteller and creative problem solver, Chris was raised near Syracuse University in New York (USA) where he later earned his MBA. He has over 20 years of experience in creative professional services and over ten years in digital marketing and strategic communications, with a portfolio of projects that spans the United Nations an two hall-of-fame songwriters.
Chris is a member of the BMW Foundation responsible Leaders Network and was appointed as its first ‘Network Driver’ in North America, where he served as a volunteer community organiser from 2014 to 2019. He is engaged in other international networks as a fellow of the RSA, a charter member of the Transatlantic Core Group, and an active member of Global Diplomacy Lab.
Closer to home, Chris serves as an election officer in Fairfax County (VA, USA), is a board member of Atlas Corps Tech and serves as a member of the Steering Committee for the DC Civic Innovation Council. Staying in touch with his personal passions, Chris has performed in around 10 productions with the Picnic Theatre Company and has coached his daughter’s soccer teams for more than 10 seasons. In 2019, Chris was recognised as a “distinguished alumnus” of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at George Mason University, where he previously earned a Bachelor of Arts in Integrative Studies.
An avid footballer, if a bit out of shape, Chris is a keen supporter of Liverpool Football Club. He and his partner Jennifer Herrera live in Fairfax County, Virginia, USA with their two daughters, where they all enjoy listening and making music together.
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.
A strategist for the social sector and an expert on global change and philanthropy, Cristina Gallegos builds convergence towards people + planet + profit for foundations and businesses, strengthening brands through the power of well-applied purpose. A social entrepreneur, Cristina Gallegos has founded six businesses and has 30 years of experience in the field, 20 of which as an advisor to ultra-high-net-worth families and the non-profits they care about.
She is the CEO of Skylarx, a Triple Bottom Line, Los Angeles-based consulting firm with a presence in Denver, Brussels and Estonia, working to align public, philanthropic, and business efforts to strengthen the global society and the people who make it great. Skylarx works on projects targeting board growth, strategic planning, executive coaching, fundraising strategies, and merging business models with charity models. A lot of Cristina’s work tackles systems overhaul and grand challenges – from digitisation to inequality, the future of work, future of learning, financial sustainability, AI, the environment and democracy.
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 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.
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.
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.
Find out more about Blair while listening to this podcast in which he shares his vision about sustainable use of resources.
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.
Dr Nimrod Goren is the Founder and Head of Mitvim - the Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, a think tank working to improve Israel's foreign policy, enhance Israel's regional belonging and advance Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Nimrod teaches Middle Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He holds a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern Studies and Political Psychology from the Hebrew University and is a former Executive Director of the Young Israeli Forum for Cooperation.
He is the recipient of the Victor J. Goldberg Prize for Peace in the Middle East and the Centennial Medal of the Institute of International Education. Nimrod was also named as a Hubert Humphrey Fellow by Fulbright and a Vamik Volkan Scholar by the International Dialogue Initiative.
He serves on the board of the Center for Enterprising Citizens and on the steering committee of the Geneva Initiative. Nimrod’s areas of expertise include Israel’s foreign policy and regional relations, the Middle East peace process and Turkish foreign policy.
Anton Goodman is a professional activist working for peace, equality and integration in Israeli society, and helping to build connections between Israelis and Palestinians on a grass-roots level. Since 2013, Anton has directed international development at the Abraham Initiatives, a major Jewish-Arab non-profit organisation, promoting shared society, equality and representation. In this role, Anton has attained major grants from the EU, the US State Department and Germany’s Federal Foreign Office. By focusing on learning from comparative examples and using best practices from other societies struggling with division, Anton broadens horizons and builds international partnerships.
On a grass-roots level, Anton is a member of the board of directors of Oz VeShalom, the Jewish religious peace movement in Israel, and regularly leads activities ranging from interfaith dialogue and political demonstrations to interventions that take a stand on the issue of Jewish extremism.
Anton lives in a small town with his wife Anat and four superhero children.
Tamara Gómez Marín is a young diplomat who has been working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship of Costa Rica since 2019. Before that, she served as Parliamentary Advisor in the Parliament of Costa Rica (2015-2019); her principal responsibilities were related to subjects such as: local development, human rights, gender equality, security and drug trafficking, education and indigenous peoples.
She is also an AFS trainer in intercultural education, President of the “Fundación para la memoria de la población LGBTIQ de Costa Rica” (which is working in the creation of a museum for LGBTIQ history), feminist activist, and volunteer in different NGOs. In 2013 she was elected Member of the University Council at the University of Costa Rica as student representative (2013-2014).
She has a Master in diplomacy and a Bachelor in International Trade and Customs, both from the University of Costa Rica.
Her personal interests are mainly human rights, intercultural dialogue, right to the city, peace and conflict management, fight against inequality.
Tamara also chatted with GDL Coffee Break podcast host Khaldun Al Saadi about climate change. A summary and the links to the episode can be found here.
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.
Mehmet Emre Gür
Emre Gür works with a large portfolio of organisations as a consultant, expert and serial social entrepreneur. He is currently Key Expert at Sivil Düşün, Managing Partner of Barem Consultancy and Katalist, Country Representative for the Centre International de Formation Européenne (CIFE), Director of Alumni Relations at the CIFE European Institute, and Secretary General of the Turkey Europe Foundation, along with some other voluntary engagements. His main interests reflect the multidisciplinary context he has been working in at the crossroads of academia, civil society, and the private sector: civil society, democracy, and politics in the EU and Turkey, social development projects, youth and women’s policies, as well as food and agriculture policies.
Emre Gür has worked for various institutions including civil society organisations, universities and international organisations, mainly in fields related to social policies and as a consultant and trainer for project management. Emre has co-authored a book on Best Practices of Youth Participation and has written articles on contemporary Turkey. He graduated from Marmara University and CIFE / European Institute in Nice, with a specialisation in the evolution of the EU’s Aid Policy and its contributions to the Millennium Development Goals.
Enas Halaiqah is a digital finance specialist with experience in international relations, programme management and research.
Enas has been working at the Jordan Payments & Clearing Company (JoPACC) since 2019, currently as a Board of Directors Secretary, and prior to this as Senior Knowledge Management and Business Analytics Manager. Before that, she worked as Project Coordinator for Digital Financial Services at the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. She also worked for ten years at the Office of HM Queen Rania of Jordan as Global Outreach Manager, where she was in charge of the Queen’s international engagements and relations.
Enas holds a MA in Intercultural Communication and European Studies from Hochschule Fulda, Germany. In her Bachelor at University of Jordan, she studied English and German as Foreign Languages.
Besides her career, she is very interested in global intercultural discourse and has participated in many courses and workshops, including the Civil Service Development Programme at Sandhurst Academy in the UK in 2015, a 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 that was themed “Regional Leaders & Global Challenges”. She also represented Jordan at the UN Global Youth Leadership Summit in New York in 2006.
Enas is a member of MELA, a regional network of business leaders with representatives in over 13 countries in the Middle East, and she has served as the network’s Jordan Chapter President from 2018 to 2020.
Mona Hammami is a Senior Director at the Office of Strategic Affairs, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court. Her role includes analysis of social and economic developments globally and locally and the drafting of publications and white papers to influence policy making. She also manages a large portfolio of philanthropic initiatives around global health. Prior to joining the Crown Prince Court she worked at Booz and Company as part of the public sector practice team focusing on a wide range of public policy issues including social and labour policies and macroeconomic policy, among other areas. She has also worked as an economist with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). Mona Hammami has authored and co-authored several papers including an IMF paper on the determinants of Public Private Partnerships. She has published three major books: “Looking Ahead: The 50 Trends that Matter”; “Looking Ahead: The Global Sustainable Agenda” and “The Giving World: How maximising three financial forces could revolutionise global development”.
Mona Hammami holds a PhD in Development Studies from the University of Oxford and a Master’s degree in Public Administration in International Development from Harvard Kennedy School. She is a recipient of both the H.R.H. Princess Banderi Al-Faisal Public Service Fellowship and the Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Tuwaijri International Public Service Fellowship. She is a WEF Young Global Leader and a member of the WEF Development Finance Global Future Council.
Eshraq A. Dahan Hammad is a graduate of the Department of English at the Faculty of Languages of Sana’a University. She is a graduate of the Yemen American Language Institution (YALI).
She has almost fifteen years of experience as a diplomat, having been posted to the permanent mission of the Republic of Yemen to the Arab League in Cairo.
Ms Hammad is very experienced in international relations and has dealt with many issues regarding the diplomacy field. She has participated in multiple courses related to diplomacy and international relations, dialogue between the Western and Eastern world, empowerment for women, crisis management, climate change and more recently the corona crisis.
She is an advocate of human rights and gender equality. She believes in peace as a sine qua non for the stability of humanity and the world.
Ms Hammad enjoys sports, appreciates travel to meet new people and different cultures, adoring photography, and loves listening to music.
Katarzyna Hanula Bobbitt has experience with public policy strategies, in particular with running long-term, successful social impact campaigns and advocating for a wide range of legislative, regulatory and legal causes.
She has an outstanding record of achievement in guiding the design, development and implementation of policies and programmes at the European and international levels on issues such as inequality, financial reform and digitalisation. She was the European Commission expert advising on the reviews of the European acquis from the social perspective. She is a behavioural economist and a coach who is interested in how we can apply behavioural economics to public policy design.
Fascinated by how technology is impacting our lives and forging new pathways for society, she is involved in discussions on the future of work and digital development at EU level.
Outside the office, she is a committed educator and spends time volunteering for Professors without Borders and Teach for India, when she is not engaged in social enterprise projects that are aimed at creating healthy financial and digital habits for children and their future well-being.
She holds degrees in law and in economics from Poland and the United States, as well as a diploma in political psychology from Hungary. She has earned managerial experience in Kenya and is currently pursuing an MBA in education leadership in Finland.
Dr Julia Harrer works as Desk Officer at the German Federal Foreign Office. In her PhD dissertation, she focused on state capacities in the context of disaster risk and undertook a study on Haiti and the Dominican Republic. She holds a Master’s degree in International and European Politics and Economics, and a Bachelor's degree in Media/Communication and French Philology.
Previous employers include the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Permanent Mission of Maldives to the United Nations, the Körber Foundation and various German and international media outlets. As chairwoman of the “nefia” alumni network of the Mercator Fellowship on International Affairs and the former Robert Bosch Stiftungskolleg, Julia Harrer is dedicated to connecting alumni in an international context.
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.
Simon Hartmann is a researcher and political consultant on counterterrorism. He is currently working on a North-Rhine-Westphalian parliamentary committee of inquiry scrutinising the 2016 Berlin truck attack.
Simon Hartmann has several years of experience in security policy. Having witnessed the failed coup attempt in Turkey 2016, he became keen to gain expertise in this field. As Carlo Schmid Fellow in the European Commission, he became an adherent of international collaboration for accurate counter terrorism measures.
Simon Hartmann holds a Master’s degree in European Studies from the Ruhr University Bochum and a Bachelor’s degree in History and Politics from the Albert Ludwig University Freiburg. He is passionate about internationalist and liberal thought as an alumnus of the Mercator Foundation and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.
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.
Andreas Holzinger is Country Director for Innovations for Poverty Action’s Sierra Leone and Liberia offices. Andreas is a human development specialist with a track record of leading projects, conducting research and providing policy advice to governments in West Africa, Europe and Latin America.
Prior to joining IPA, Andreas served in international organisations such as the World Bank Group and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), where he oversaw project portfolios on economic inclusion, protection and migration. He conducted research projects inter alia for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and enjoys working on innovative policy solutions through human-centred design.
Andreas holds Master's degrees from Sciences Po Paris and the Freie Universität Berlin, having specialised in the security, development and inclusion policy nexus.
Senta Höfer is passionate about planting and nurturing new ideas, programmes and institutions in manifold environments.
Before establishing the Global Diplomacy Lab Secretariat at the Federal Foreign Office, which she co-founded and directed from 2014 to 2023, Senta created and managed executive training programmes for international diplomats, as well as cultural initiatives in Eastern Europe. All of these – just like the Global Diplomacy Lab – public-private partnerships between the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs and (private) foundations. Since March 2023, Senta works as the Director of Operations at the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s Permanent Office in Berlin.
Before returning to Germany in 2005 to work in international relations, Senta spent many years abroad – always in intercultural and multidisciplinary environments – be it establishing and directing the German Cultural Centre in Timişoara (Romania) or working for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in post-war Croatia. This is also where, in addition to her regular work, she co-founded an NGO fair, at a time when members of the Croatian political leadership called NGOs the “cancer of society”. The motivation for this work was not least the fact that Senta was born and grew up as a member of the German national minority in Bucharest, Romania, which was a dictatorship at the time. She was able to emigrate at the age of 17.
Once she arrived in the “free world”, Senta began to travel, live and pursue studies in journalism, German and art history in Würzburg, London, Bamberg, Antwerp and New York. Senta had the pleasure and luck to be awarded fellowships by the Robert Bosch Foundation, the Karl Gerold Foundation and Columbia University, as well as to work as a journalist for, among others, the BBC World Service, the Bavarian Broadcasting Company (BR), Die Zeit (German weekly) and, most recently, for Deutschlandfunk Kultur, the German public radio.
Senta lives with her partner and (occasionally) their two grown-up children in Berlin-Schöneberg, where she organises literary salons and loves listening to and playing music in her free time.
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 an Equity and Empathy Consultant with vast international training and coaching experience. Her primary goal is to empower both private and public institutions with a view to enhancing and building their human capacity by improving communication lines and promoting belongingness.
Her doctoral research study connects critical self-reflection and self-knowledge to the conscious teaching of elements that are necessary for dealing with structural racism. She has pioneered pre-service teacher training courses on the topic of conscious teaching, led workshops and given talks on the importance of critical self-reflection and the impact of implicit bias in daily life.
She is currently working as a Global Induction Trainer at the Norwegian Refugee Council.
Find out more on her opinion on responsible leadership here.
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. Nnaemeka 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.
Dr Rola Jadallah is Assistant Professor for Biology & Biotechnology at the Arab American University (AAUP) in Jenin, Palestine.
Rola’s research has focused primarily on high-risk diseases in the northern West Bank, including HPV, hepatitis B and other viruses. She founded the first Palestinian forensics lab in 1998. In 2015, the US Consulate in Jerusalem included her in its Women in Science Hall of Fame initiative to honour outstanding women in science throughout the MENA region.
In addition to teaching, Rola has served as the Assistant to the Vice President for Planning and Development and Director of Projects at AAUP. She was deputy mayor of the Arrabeh municipality from 2012 to 2017, and is involved in numerous community education projects and serves as Director of the Deep Democracy Institute in Palestine, which seeks to promote leadership and expertise in democracy facilitation, personal development, conflict resolution and other topics.
Rola participated in the Global Leadership Academy’s Passion and Politics Lab, during which she started a change project called Societal Accountability.
Rola earned her PhD in medical microbiology from Ain Shams University, Egypt. She also has a Master’s degree in microbiology from An-Najah National University and a Bachelor’s in applied biology from Jordan University of Science and Technology.
Kebba-Omar Jagne 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 was Accelerator Lab Lead and Head of Experimentation in the United Nations Development Program in Gambia and 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).
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.
Omar also chatted with GDL Coffee Break podcast host Khaldun Al Saadi about informal markets. A summary and the links to the episode can be found here.
Since September 2019 Peter is the Slovenian 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.
Read more about her engagement and how cities can function as future labs for innovative forms of diplomacy. More about her ideas on Women in Crime can be found here. Or read her article on community-led crisis response or on Guinea Bissau.
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, where he led the memorial site until 2020. Currently he is a public administration lawyer for "Spielplatz am Bundesministerium des Inneren".
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.
Mahmoud Javadi works as a Researcher for the European University Institute. Prior to that, he was employed at the Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS), which is affiliated with the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). Before joining the IPIS in mid 2017, Mahmoud had been a resident fellow at the Iranian Expediency Discernment Council’s Center for Strategic Research (CSR) from 2013 to 2016 and served as a junior assistant to the Secretary General of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) in 2017.
In addition to working for state-funded institutions, Mahmoud has been working with a number of independent think-tanks in Iran. Mahmoud co-hosts the IRAN-DACH Podcast exploring –for its Iranian audiences– different aspects of relationships between Iran and Germany, Austria & Switzerland (DACH countries).
Mahmoud earned a Bachelor’s in English Literature at Allameh Tabataba’i University, Iran, and a Master’s degree in Regional Studies at the University of Tehran, Iran (2015), both with highest distinction. From July 2021, Mahmoud has joined the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, Italy, for the Master’s programme on transnational governance.
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.
Benon Kayemba was born on 9 October 1977 in Uganda, raised by a single rural based mother up to the age of 14 years. From thereon, he took charge of raising his own school fees through working during holidays from senior 1 up to senior 4. He obtained a scholarship from the Conerstone Development organisation (American NGO) for poor bright students and pursued Advanced level education where he excelled nationwide and was admitted to Makerere University - then the only public university in Uganda as a government sponsorship student.
Benon Kayemba has a Bachelor’s Degree (Tourism & Geography), a post graduate diploma in Diplomacy and a Master’s degree in Public Administration. He joined the Ugandan Foreign Service in 2002 and has risen through the ranks to Second Secretary (2006), First Secretary (2011) and Counsellor (2015). He has served in the Ugandan mission in Addis Ababa (2006-2010), with responsibility for Integration & Partnerships, in Kinshasha (2012-2016), as deputy head in charge of economic affairs, and is currently in Algiers (2018 -2022) as deputy head on the newly created mission. At home, Benon Kayemba worked as Desk Officer for Europe (2002-2013), Desk Office for the African Union (2004-2006), Special Assistant to the CEO of Foreign Affairs (2011-2012) and Deputy Head of the newly created Department of Regional Peace and Security which deals with regional and continental issues in Africa.
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.
Read more about Ankit in his latest blog article on promoting and protecting Human Rights of LGBTI community in Nepal.
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.
Dan Kramer is the Director of the Fulbright US Student Program (FUSP) at the Institute of International Education (IIE).
In his role, he oversees the FUSP selection process and works closely with other key stakeholders – including the US Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), 49 Fulbright Commissions, over 80 US Embassies and numerous US and international universities – on the pre-departure preparation and in-country support of ca. 2100 participants in over 130 countries.
Dan came to IIE in 2012, after having worked in academia for over a decade as a faculty member – teaching, conducting research and directing study abroad programmes.
Dan did his undergraduate work at St. John’s University in Minnesota, earned his MA from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and holds a Ph.D. from Harvard.
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. She is responsible for the design, implementation, and evaluation of consulting and research projects in climate, energy and environmental policies, the development and organization of stakeholder and training projects as well as the development of new partnerships especially in Asia.
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).
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.
Patrick Luna is a Brazilian diplomat, currently posted as Second Secretary to the Embassy of Brazil in Nairobi (Kenya), where he acts as Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and to the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).
From August 2014 to February 2019, he was posted to the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations in New York, where he covered issues related to international law, protection of civilians, international criminal accountability and counter-terrorism.
Patrick Luna holds a Bachelor's degree in Law (University of São Paulo, 2008) and graduated from the Brazilian Diplomatic Academy (Instituto Rio Branco) in 2010. He was a participant of the 36th IDL (2012). He is fluent in English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and was born in São Paulo (Brazil) on 2 December 1983.
Annette Ludwig is currently an Adviser to the Gender Equality Representative of the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. Since joining the Foreign Service in 2002 she has served as a diplomat in Hanoi and in Lisbon and has worked in various positions at the headquarters (in the Office of the Minister of State, the Southern Africa Division and the Central Europe Division). Prior to this, she worked as a research assistant at the University of Hamburg and at the Europa-Kolleg Hamburg.
With a scholarship of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation, Annette studied law and journalism in Hamburg and in Paris. She is convinced that inclusivity, diversity and gender equality are essential prerequisites for solving many of today’s global problems and that the implementation of a feminist foreign policy would make diplomacy more effective, resilient, legitimate and credible.
Annette is a single mother of three children. Besides spending time with her family, she enjoys reading, swimming and outdoor activities.
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 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.
Find out more about her engagement here and in this interview. Furthermore, Elizabeth reflected on inclusion 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.
Nurana Mammadova is an international trainer in the topics of Project Management, Political and Citizenship Education, Peacebuilding and Conflict Management, she is a member of Theodor-Heuss-Kolleg and SALTO EECA trainers' pools. Since 2014, she joined the coordination team of the national youth program in Azerbaijan called "Time for Development" and in 2018 she was elected as a board member of the MitOst Association and became a sparring partner for Impact Hub Almaty. She also works as a country mentor for the EU4Youth Coordination and Support project implemented by Ernst & Young.
Her educational background includes a Bachelor’s Degree in International Economic Relations and a Master’s degree in Diplomacy from Centre International de Formation Européenne, Bilgi University, Institut für Europäische Politik, and intensive master course in human rights from the University of Oslo.
Up-to-date, Nurana has trained thousands of young people and mentored dozens of social projects around Euroasia and North Africa.
In 2019, Nurana was listed among 15 global peacebuilder/changemaker female leaders by the University of Denver and the US Institute of Peace.
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.
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 in designing, developing and implementing public policies focused on sustainability. She has adapted international agendas to the Mexican context, such as sustainable production and consumption, waste management, eco-labelling and, most recently, the 2030 Agenda most commonly known as the Sustainable Development Goals.
Edna worked in the Mexican Ministry of Environmental and Natural Resources for over five years, where her proudest achievements include the development of a National Strategy and a Special Program in Sustainable Production and Consumption. She has collaborated with UNDP and the Office of the Presidency in the design of the Implementation Strategy of the SDGs for Mexico and for FAO in the Foresight of the Agricultural Sector. Edna has also co-written a public policy recommendation for the T20 when chaired by Germany. She also finds great satisfaction in sharing knowledge digitally, in open forums and teaching in universities.
Edna is currently part of a project that is creating an offsite space for co-creation, team building and workshop spaces for international and local organizations. This space, known as Mineralito, is in a tranquil rural area, surrounded by beautiful green landscapes and natural reserves. Knowledge sharing and designing and creating sustainable lifestyles is what inspired Mineralito. This project has turned Edna into an avid researcher of bio-construction in the creation of this magical place, where everything is designed and built with sustainability in mind and shared to be replicated.
Edna was raised in the North of Mexico, growing up both in a rural town and in Monterrey, the second largest city of Mexico. Edna currently lives in Mexico City, but she prefers the loud grandiosity and the noble silence of the natural environment.
Simon Masaba specializes in investigative reporting and is part of the crime team at New Vision newspaper, a subsidiary of Vision Group. He is an enthusiastic reporter with over ten years’ experience in journalism.
He is one of the few reporters focusing specifically on urban violence, human trafficking, terrorist financing, money laundering, the trade in illegal drugs, and other security threats. He has also manages major CSO initiatives, led regional campaigns addressing violence against women and children and built civil society capacities in the region.
His well-researched pieces, have prompted the government of Uganda to increase its efforts to investigate prosecute and convict people engaging in illegal activity. He also provides training focusing on how to bring about a crime-free society.
Alongside his work as a journalist, Simon is also currently undertaking a course in Peace and Security Studies.
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.
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 has proven expertise in managing organisations, mobilising the surrounding community and motivating others to achieve targets. Moreover, he is a proactive and judicious individual who takes a principle-centred approach to managing challenges. He performs effectively even under intense pressure in the work environment.
He is skilled at coordinating and cooperating with others in teams, always aims to facilitate communication and negotiate 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). After directing the Urban Climate Change Resilience Greenery Development and Beautification Directorate for 5 years, which is within the Ministry of Urban Development and Construction, Hailu Aderie is currently serving as Deputy Executive Director at Gada Transport Company.
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.
Johnny Miller is a photographer, activist and multimedia storyteller based in Cape Town, South Africa and Detroit, USA. He is interested in exploring inequality, architecture, displacement and climate justice on the ground and from the air. He is the founder of Unequal Scenes and of africanDRONE.
Unequal Scenes is a photographic project, a platform for multimedia storytelling, and a home for creatives, activists, scientists and journalists to connect and strategise creative approaches to make the world a more healthy, fair and equitable place. Unequal Scenes aligns itself with the UN SDGs, specifically in the fight against extreme inequality, climate change and sustainable cities and communities. Johnny believes that creating strong, accessible and accurate narratives can drive mass action, which in turn can be a force for positive social change.
Johnny is a News Fellow at Code For Africa, a Senior Atlantic Fellow for Social and Economic Equity at the London School of Economics, and a UN Habitat Champion for Vibrant and Inclusive Neighbourhoods and Communities.
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 and about his reflections on inclusion in this interview.
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.
Haya Natsheh was born on 28 November 1992 in Jerusalem. After graduating from Schmidt’s Girls College in 2010, Haya was awarded a DAAD scholarship to continue her higher education in the field of translation and interpreting (English, Arabic, German) at the German Jordanian University in Amman.
During her four years of study between Jordan and Germany, Haya took part in numerous exchange programmes and completed one exchange semester at the University of Bonn, after which she did her internship at the Public Information Office at UNRWA.
After graduation, Haya worked as a Language Assistants Supervisor and Cultural Advisor at the Palestinians Officers Academy, where she was the supervisor and team leader of 14 other translators. In September 2015, Haya participated in the International Parliamentary Scholarship Programme at the German Bundestag. After her return, she decided to pursue her strong passion for politics.
In 2016, Haya was awarded a scholarship from the UK Government’s international award programme "Chevening" to complete an MSc in Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Since September 2018, Haya has been Head of Public Relations and Resources Development at Alquds Fund and Endowment.
Natalya was born and spent her childhood in 1990’s Kyiv, prior to moving to Bavaria after primary 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.
She gained professional experience as Project Manager for the German-Russian Young Leaders Conference and Operations Coordinator for eHealth Africa, an NGO that improves public healthcare in West Africa. From 2014 to 2016, she served as Deputy Chairperson and Head of Events of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), working on the association’s strategy and strengthening its internal and external networks.
In 2016, she founded the non-profit enterprise Netzwerk Chancen, which provides support to young adults from underprivileged families, helping them to climb the social ladder. Netzwerk Chancen is also active as an advocacy platform that fights for equal opportunities for children and teenagers from low-income households in Germany.
Chi Nguyen is the Ontario Liberal Party candidate for Spadina Fort-York. Chi will be running in the upcoming provincial election in 2022, with the goal to represent the area where she grew up in the Ontario Legislative Assembly.
Previously, she served as 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 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 is a Senior Policy Advisor for Climate Security & COE at Global Affairs Canada, where he focuses on Security and Defence Relations Division of the Canadian Government as well as the NATO Climate and Security Centre of Excellence.
Previously he worked at the Centre for Rural Development of Canada’s Ministry of Infrastructure and also held the position of Senior Advisor on Climate Security at CGIAR Climate Security. He is a PhD candidate at Utrecht University and a former Canadian diplomat with many years of experience in public administration and international experience covering the UN, NATO, the World Bank, Canadian diplomacy, and private sector ventures.
Diego has worked globally on political and economic matters, climate change-conflict and adaptation policy, as well as institutional and social reconstruction, civil-military coordination, and humanitarian issues. He has been 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.
His previous positions included Senior Peacekeeping Officer and Senior Advisor on Mediation, Negotiation and Peace processes at Global Affairs Canada.
Diego is 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. He has lectured on a variety of topics such as humanitarian action, governance design, the humanitarian-development nexus, conflict and climate change, post-conflict recovery, at universities in Canada and abroad. Another field he works on is co-creation and human design methodologies. Last but not least he is an Adjunct Professor of Master of Public Policy at Adler University, Canada.
Read more about Diego in his latest article.
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 and moderator.
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 producing and hosting some special reports for WDR, Radio Bremen, RTL Nord, 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 dozens of international conferences, including for example the Water Act Summit in Paris prior to COP 21. Read more about David here.
Dr Banu Pekol’s work focuses on peacebuilding and conflict transformation in relation to contested cultural heritage. Her work spans cultural heritage research on difficult pasts and projects that develop creative and research-based results, specialising in cultural diplomacy, contested heritage interpretation and management. She has over a decade of experience with different cultures at numerous multicultural heritage sites.
Banu currently works at the Berghof Foundation, on intercultural and interreligious conflict transformation and peace education. She was previously a Historical Dialogue and Accountability fellow at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University.
She is a co-founder of the Association for the Protection of Cultural Heritage (KMKD), which was established in order to respond to the urgent need to protect and preserve cultural heritage at risk. She has worked as a cultural manager at KMKD, where her work included managing creative as well as research–based strategies to preserve heritage, especially of contested heritage sites, and to find concrete ways for communities to embrace and preserve heritage, regardless of the ethnic or religious community that built it.
She was a trainer in the 2020 European Diplomatic Programme, an elected member on the Advisory Council of the Global Diplomacy Lab (2019-2021) and is a BMW Responsible Leader.
Banu Pekol holds a BA from the Courtauld Institute of Art and PhD from Istanbul Technical University. She was a Salzburg Global Seminar Fellow on Conflict Transformation through Culture: Peace-building and the Arts and has been awarded 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.
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 and in this article. Or you can read her article on crisis response or follow her footsteps in former guerrilla territory.
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 the Head of the German Secretariat of the Energy Partnership with Canada.
Previously he was 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 was 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.
From 2014 to February 2023, Ruprecht Polenz served as the Founding Dean of the GDL. He was a member of the German Parliament from 1994 to 2013 as representant of the City of Muenster. He was the Chairman of the German Bundestag’s Committee on Foreign Affairs from 2005 to 2013. He is currently special envoy of the German Government for the negotiations between Germany and Namibia about the colonial past. The focal points of his work are foreign and security policy, with regional emphasis on the Middle East, in particular Iran and Turkey and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is following the political effects of Islam both in this region and beyond with particular interest. Good transatlantic relations with the USA are especially important to him. Polenz became senior member of the CDU party on April 10, 2000 under the presidency of Angela Merkel. From April to November 2000, he was the Secretary-General of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Ruprecht Polenz holds a number of voluntary positions: President of the German Association for East European Studies (DGO), German Co-Dean of the Turkish-Europe-Future-Forum (a common Enterprise of the Mercator-Foundation and TÜSIAD), Senior Adviser to the Bosch-Alumni-Program with the USA, member of the board of trustees of Grünhelme e.V. (“Green Helmets”, a humanitarian agency), member of the board of trustees of Münster University of Applied Sciences, member of the advisory council of the European Council on Foreign Relations.
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.
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.
Sandrine Ramboux is a Belgian national who has been living in Turkey since 2007. For a long part of her life, she worked in senior positions in investment banking in Belgium, the Nordic countries and Turkey.
In 2012, she quit finance and founded C@rma to support the capacity building of Turkish NGOs. In parallel, in 2016, she launched Jana (www.jana-impact.org) to support disadvantaged women (Syrian and Turkish) in setting up their small businesses and building strong peer communities on which they can rely. Within that framework, Sandrine Ramboux conducted a two-year project on the financial inclusion of women and organised a workshop on that topic in Berlin.
In 2019, she added EKIP, a project administered by the World Bank to support 50 women in setting up a cooperative in the food sector in Istanbul. This is a pilot project to test a new model for the economic inclusion of the most vulnerable.
Sandrine Ramboux has been a speaker at TEDX Bruges, the UNDP Social Good Summit, the Istanbul Social Innovation Summit, Turkonfed/UN Women, etc. She is part of the Responsible Leader Network supported by the BMW Foundation and the Bosch Alumni Network as well as a member of the Global Board Ready Women. Sandrine Ramboux has a Master’s degree in Business Engineering from ICHEC (Brussels, B) and is a Chartered Financial Analyst. She also has a Master of Laws in European and International Law (Leyden, Nl). She is the proud mother of 2 lovely twin girls and loves endurance sports like running and swimming.
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.
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.
After working for two years at Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Jörn recently joined the Mobility Institute Berlin (mib) as Head of Consulting. With its data-driven consulting approach, mib works with cities and public transport companies to develop sustainable urban mobility visions, to elaborate strategies on how to turn visions into reality, and to support the implementation of related measures.
Jörn has a background in strategic foresight, foreign policy and energy consulting and research. He has worked as an Assistant Professor for Energy Governance at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, as well as for various think tanks such as Stiftung Neue Verantwortung (SNV), Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik – German Institute for International and Security Affairs, and the Future Analysis Branch of the Federal Armed Forces’ Planning Office. Having lived and worked in seven countries, he brings to the table a broad array of international and intercultural experiences. He studied political science, economics, and psychology in Kiel and Madrid and holds a doctorate in sociology and international relations from Bielefeld University.
Luciana Ribeiro Monteiro has been working at Embraer since 2000. Since 2009, she has been developing technological research projects that focus on the user experience and sustainability.
She has been researching, developing and applying new natural materials, trying to integrate the environment and society and to create projects that embody sustainable design, promote a fair marketplace, and highlight economic and ecological aspects. She develops technological forecasting projects that incorporate new concepts of interior design, future scenarios and trend analyses and subsequently develops and implements the respective portfolios. In this way, Luciana has become well acquainted with the dynamics of multidisciplinary projects, also in partnership with national and international universities and research institutes.
She has been based in the Netherlands since 2019, where she leads several student teams at TU Delft. Together, they implement collaborative projects with a focus on socio-environmental sustainability.
Bastian Richter is a Senior Researcher at the Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF) in Berlin. There, he is responsible for gathering and analysing experiences of civilian experts. With many years of work experience in the UN, he has in-depth expertise in leading complex inter-agency planning processes.
Previously, Bastian worked at the UN Department of Peace Operations (DPO) for the Policy and Best Practices Service and at the UNDP, where he managed 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.
Other previous employers include the UNICEF HQ and the UNICEF Somalia Country Office, as well as the UN Political Office for Somalia.
As a Mercator Fellow on International Affairs in 2010-11, Bastian explored the interplay between conflict and humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa. He holds 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.
Gina Romero is a social activist, social entrepreneur and expert in civic education, youth empowerment, integrity and anticorruption as well as democracy strengthening.
She has wide experience in public diplomacy, networking, formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of social projects for development. She is an international consultant on anticorruption and youth issues and is currently the Director of the Latin American and Caribbean Network for Democracy.
Gina is a professional in the field of government and international relations, and has a Master in the Analysis of Political, Economic and International Contemporary Problems from the Universidad Externado de Colombia, among other courses and degrees.
Gina has received recognition on several occasions for her work in Latin America and the Caribbean: Global Changemaker (2011), Drapers Hill Fellow (Stanford, 2012) and Historical and Accountability Fellow (Columbia, 2017).
She has been part of the founding groups of different civil society organisations at national, regional and global level such as Ocasa (Colombia), Redlad (Americas), the World Youth Movement for Democracy and the Global Youth network for Democracy (global).
Follow Gina's experiences with dialogue in Latin America in this article and the next part in this blog post.
Marina Rudyak is a publicly engaged China and development cooperation scholar, policy advisor and systemic process and intercultural facilitator. She’s presently a lecturer at Heidelberg University’s Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies where she is finishing her PhD on Chinese foreign aid. She’s the author of several publications on China’s international development cooperation and the founder of the China Aid Blog where she translates and comments on important Chinese development policy debates. Marina Rudyak is also an internationally sought-after advisor for group processes on sustainable development.
Previously, she was a programme manager with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) in Beijing. She studied in Heidelberg University and Shanghai and holds an MA in Chinese Studies and Public Law, and is fluent in Russian, German, Chinese and English.
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 as a program officer in the Cairo office of the Ford foundation, focusing on supporting arts, culture and media in the Middle East and North Africa.
Yandeh Sallah-Muhammed is a professional in the environmental conservation field with a long-term focus in marine conservation and a specific passion for shark conservation. Yandeh uses their passion for the ocean and nature to spread knowledge and awareness in the Gambia.
They also focus on nature-based solutions for community sustainable solutions through the project of the Gambian Marine and Environmental Conservation Initiative that utilises sustainable recreation, permaculture and free education to be able to share knowledge on these themes, as well as physically immerse within these landscapes to fully grasp the effects of climate change and environmental degradation due to the exploitation of natural resources.
In addition to working as the Director of the Gambian Marine and Environmental Conservation Initiative, Yandeh works as an Environmental Officer for the Fandema Women Development Center that offers free training for women in rural areas to become solar installers.
Yandeh Sallah-Muhammed is also a Regional Coordinator for Bosch Alumni Network funded by iac Berlin.
To join forces and collaborate with fellow African changemakers, Yandeh Sallah-Muhammed is a member of the Resilient 40 network, bridging the gap between African environmental change-makers.
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.
In her articles in the GDL blog Susanne discusses multi-stakeholder partnerships and why they are needed in a "BANI world".
Trini Saona is a journalist and has been a diplomat with the Chilean Foreign Service since 2010. She is currently posted to the Mission of Chile to the European Union and the Embassy in Belgium and Luxembourg. At the MFA, she previously served at the Embassy of Chile in Mexico, in Santiago, at the Directorate of Strategic Planning and the offices of the Under-Secretary and the Minister, and at ProChile, at the directorate-general for exports promotion.
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.
In diplomacy, her main interest is in exploring new methodologies and tools in depth 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.
Trini is an alumna of Training for International Diplomats at Germany’s Federal Foreign Office, and a member of the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Network. She speaks Spanish, English and French, and her main hobby is photography.
Learn more about Trinidad in her latest interview.
Milica is currently working in the Press and Communication Team for the neighbourhood region 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 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.
Astrid Schmidt-King is an Executive in Residence at the Sellinger School of Business at Loyola University Maryland, where she teaches international business (IB) and IB law, law and the regulatory environment, as well as ethics and corporate social responsibility. She is the Director of the IB programme and chair of Building a Better World Through Business initiative.
Astrid practised immigration law and business compliance. In addition to her B.A., J.D. and LL.M., Astrid recently gained a hybrid M.A. from the Freie Universität Berlin, where she examined globalisation's socioeconomic impact on developed democracies and the rise of right-wing populism.
She authored a chapter, "Foreign Law and Policy" in Law and Public Policy, participated in a Fulbright International Education Administrators Seminar (Germany) and the American Council on Germany's immigration delegation in Berlin, was named a Presidential Fellow by the Association of International Education Administrators, and recently completed the Emerging and Developing Global Executive fellowship by the World Trade Center Institute.
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 Co-CEO and the Chairwoman of the Supervisory Board of econnext, a holding investing in sustainable and impact-oriented start-ups. Moreover, she is Deputy Chairwoman of the Executive Committee of the Advisory Board of Agora Energiewende. She is an expert on climate, energy and biodiversity issues, climate diplomacy, and sustainable finance & economy. Sabrina also works as a lecturer, moderator and facilitator.
Between 2018 and 2020 Sabrina served as Head of the Berlin office at KfW, Germany’s national promotional and international development bank where she represented the interests of KfW Group in the political arena. Previously, from 2012 to 2018, she was the Director of the Berlin office at E3G‑Third Generation Environmentalism, an international non-profit climate and energy think tank. 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 and energy to the British High Commission in Canada and led a project on climate security.
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 the Université catholique de Louvain, as well as an MA in International Politics and a PhD from the University of Wales at Aberystwyth in the United Kingdom.
She is an environmentalist, an internationalist and a yogini and volunteers as a Policy Fellow at 'Das Progressive Zentrum' in Berlin.
Read more about Sabrina in her latest blog article.
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).
Read more about Volkan in his article on re-shaping trade diplomacy.
In an article for the GDL Blog Gaurav shares his experience of a two-part Strategic Foresight journey. He previously also discussed the role of the G20 and the positive impacts of Covid-19.
Throughout her career, Carolina Sheinfeld has sought to advance meaningful change from a local to a global level. Working with the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) she has been able to design and implement initiatives that create safe and welcoming learning environments and through these has reached over 1.5 million students and their families. Prior to coming to LACOE, Carolina Sheinfeld managed a highly regarded programme for immigrants in need of humanitarian protection at the largest legal aid firm in the United States, providing legal assistance, case management and community education to asylees and refugees in the Greater Los Angeles area.
Throughout her career, Carolina Sheinfeld has been actively involved in developing and executing strategies to raise the visibility of the agencies that she represents. She has built and strengthens coalitions and advocated extensively to generate systemic change in the area of immigrant and refugee integration. She is a seasoned trainer and presenter and has thrived as convener and event organiser, both through the Refugee Forum and the Asylum Collaborative of Los Angeles.
Carolina Sheinfeld is a Rotary Peace Fellow and a UN Alliance of Civilizations Fellow. In 2017, she joined the Welcoming Communities Transatlantic Exchange network, a group of integration practitioners in the United States and Germany. She has been part of the BMW Responsible Leaders Network since 2015.
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.
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.
Inês Silva is a Portugal-based innovator and the CEO of Aliados, an innovation consulting firm working for a more sustainable and circular world. On the side, Inês Silva fights for gender equality at Portuguese Women in Tech and leads Connect Portugal, a community of highly talented Portuguese young leaders spread around the world.
She is a 2018-19 Marshall Memorial Fellow supported by the German Marshall Fund, an alumna of the Singularity University Graduate Studies Program and she is also actively engaged in networks like the World Economic Forum Global Shapers, the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt/ Responsible Leaders Network and Sandbox Network.
Read more about Imran in this blog article.
Chelsey Slack has focused her academic and professional endeavours on advancing international peace and security issues in multilateral fora. She is working at the intersection of geopolitics and technology.
As Deputy Head of the Cyber Defence Section at NATO Headquarters, she supports the negotiations of NATO Allies on cyber defence policy issues. This includes cultivating cooperation with NATO’s partners in other countries, international organisations, as well as across industry and academia. Previously, Chelsey worked at the Canadian Foreign Ministry as part of a Stabilisation and Reconstruction Task Force specialising in conflict prevention.
She earned a Master’s Degree of Philosophy in International Relations from the University of Cambridge. She also studied as a Hansard Scholar at the London School of Economics and at the Institut d'Études Politiques de Lyon in France.
With roots on the west coast of Canada, Chelsey spends a good part of her time discovering other coasts and cultures. She is a regular guest lecturer at universities and research institutes, a contributor to mentoring programs, and is part of the BMW Foundation’s Responsible Leaders Network.
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 is the coordinator of #breakfreefromplastic movement for Asia Pacific region.
Satyarupa leads the regional effort for developing holistic and inclusive strategies to dramatically reduce plastic production, pollution, and usage. She works with and supports frontline communities and organizations – leaders in their right – working to promote sustainable, effective, and locally-driven initiatives. 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.
Dr Eleonora Tafuro Ambrosetti is a research fellow at the Russia, Caucasus and Central Asia Centre at ISPI. Prior to that, she was a Marie Curie Fellow based at the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey, where she completed her PhD.
She had research stays at the Saint Petersburg State University and at the London headquarters of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). Eleonora Tafuro Ambrosetti worked as a junior researcher at the Brussels office of the Foundation for International Relations and Foreign Dialogue (FRIDE) and as a research assistant at the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB).
She holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Salento, an MA in European Studies from the University of Roma Tre, and an MRes in International Relations from the Barcelona Institute of International Studies (IBEI).
Her areas of interest include Russian foreign policy and soft power, EU-Russia and Russia-Turkey relations, and EU neighbourhood policies (especially with Eastern neighbours). Eleonora Tafuro Ambrosetti is a member of the WIIS (Women in International Security), an international network dedicated to increasing the influence of women in the field of foreign and defence policy. In addition to her native Italian, she speaks English, Spanish and French fluently and she has a working knowledge of Turkish and Russian.
Passionate about international relations and diplomacy, Tristan terryn specialised in EU-Latin American relations, with a strong focus on regional integration and trade relations, before participating in the Belgian Foreign Service exam. Fluent in 6 languages he is convinced of the invaluable contribution different forms of cultural and political exchange bring to the table in addressing and solving challenges ranging from armed conflict to urban planning. Now in his third year as a Belgian diplomat in Germany, Tristan terryn has participated actively in diplomatic exchange programmes, studying cross-border cooperation, conflict mediation and has engaged with other partners in the reputed Diplomaten Kolleg.
A creative thinker, not afraid of thinking outside the box, unconventional in tackling problems, Tristan terryn is nevertheless well versed in bridging cultural divides to propose innovative solutions. Besides a vast understanding of Latin American and Caribbean affairs, he also has an understanding of the challenges facing large areas of the African continent and the Pacific region, while coupling this to policy-making in the European Union.
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.
Kata Dorottya Udvarhelyi is a career diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary and is currently assigned to the Permanent Delegation of Hungary to the OECD and UNESCO in Paris. Prior to this assignment, she served, among other things, at the Hungarian Embassy in Berlin, as an exchange diplomat at the German and French foreign ministries and worked for the Government Commissioner for the EU Strategy for the Danube Region in Budapest during the Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2011.
Kata holds a B.A. in International Cultural and Business Studies as well as an M.A. in Governance and Public Policy from the University of Passau, where she studied as a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) fellow. She completed her postgraduate studies in Foreign Affairs at the Hungarian Károli Gáspár University.
Burak Ünveren is a journalist and moderator born in Istanbul, based in Bonn. In addition to his work as a freelance moderator, he also works as an editor at the Turkish Programme and the Chief Editorial Office at Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international broadcaster. He specializes in global and European affairs, domestic and international security and Turkish foreign policy.
He studied in Leipzig, Vienna and Istanbul. He is an alumnus of the International Parliamentary Scholarship programme of German Bundestag as well as the Training for International Diplomats programme of German Federal Foreign Office.
You can learn more about Burak and his view on the role of international media for inklusive diplomacy in his first 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.
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.
Naresh Visuvalingam has completed his Bachelor's degree in Business Information Systems at the University of Göttingen and is working as an IT consultant to drive digital transformation with various clients in finance and the public sector.
He connects his keen interest in the social and business impact of technology on different levels with voluntary activities, e.g. as the former deputy chairman of the Young European Federalists in Lower Saxony to encourage and spark the interest of young people for the subject of a united Europe and politics in general.
Being a part of the Fulbright Diversity programme of 2016 in San Antonio, Naresh connected with fellow Fulbrighters to work on diverse projects and form a sustainable network of high potential People of Colors. He is a founding member of the European Fulbright Diversity Initiative.
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 has a strong background in academia, civil society and administration. She works at the interface between education and diplomacy by merging local, national and international perspectives on formal and non-formal education.
At Stuttgart Municipality, she currently coordinates a network which aims to mainstream education for sustainable development by encouraging intersectoral cooperation between education, civil society and administration.
In her academic work, Annegret has developed a non-essentialist approach to overcome Eurocentric research on youth in the Global South. As a 2018/19 Mercator-IPC Fellow, she explored potentials of local youth policy and youth participation in Turkey. She has formerly worked as a research and teaching fellow at Goethe-University in Frankfurt.
Since 2010, Annegret has been active at the intersection of research and practice in youth exchange with a focus on Turkey. She is a consultant to stakeholders in youth exchange including the German-Turkish Youth Bridge, the International Youth Service of the Federal Republic of Germany (IJAB), and Stiftung Mercator.
Annegret studied Educational Science at Tübingen University, Marburg University and Bosporus University in Istanbul. She holds a PhD in International Youth Research from Helmut Schmidt University in Hamburg.
Andreas is currently Executive Vice President at Photonics.
Previously he served as managing director of a start-up which 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.
Dr Michael John Williams is Associate Professor, Director of the International Relations Graduate Programs and Vice Chair of the Department of Public Administration and International Affairs at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.
One of his books is called “Science, Law and Liberalism in the American Way of War: The Quest for Humanity in Conflict” (Cambridge: University Press, 2015). His work has been published in journals such as International Affairs, International Politics, International Peacekeeping, Global Governance and Cooperation & Conflict.
Prof. Williams is a Fellow of the Inter-University Seminar on the Armed Forces and the Royal Society for the Arts (UK), an Associate of LSE IDEAS, and a Non-Resident Scholar at the Atlantic Council of the United States.
He has been a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and a Senior Associate Scholar at the Center for European Policy Analysis in Washington D.C. He held a Bosch Fellowship in the German Ministry of Defence, a Visiting Fellowship at the University of Oxford, and a DAAD Fellowship at the Bundeswehr Center for Social Science. He was also an investigator in the Sustainable Peacebuilding Network, a collaborative research project involving 20 scholars from six countries, funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Before Maxwell, he was Clinical Professor and Director of International Relations at NYU, Associate Professor at the University of London and the Head of the Transatlantic Security Program at the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies in London. He has consulted for policy-makers in the US, Canada and across Europe.
Educated at the universities of Delaware, Hamburg, Bayreuth, Bath, Berlin and Moscow, he earned his doctorate at the London School of Economics & Political Science.
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.
Ghada Zribi is the Lead of the Worldwide Public Sector Competency Program at Amazon Web Services. She is passionate about leveraging cutting-edge technology to achieve global sustainable development and enabling historically marginalised communities to overcome obstacles with innovation.
Ghada is a pan-African peace and civic education practitioner. She is the founder of iBuild Africa (a peer-to-peer support system for African youth), leading major projects around the continent to celebrate the African identity, counter violent extremism among young generations and promote the global Sustainable Development Goals.
Ghada is a United Nations Alliance of Civilizations fellow and a youth representative in the Network of Arab Leaders for Sustainable Development in UNESCO. She also served as an Ashoka Changemaker scholar in employment in Africa and as Tunisia’s ambassador for the Youth Counselling and Development Network.
In the past, Ghada worked as an International Partnerships Manager at Code.org and as project coordinator for the Lobo Friends Mentorship Programme, and also for the International Service Corps at the University of New Mexico, USA.
Ghada obtained a master’s degree in Communications and Media from Université Tunis Carthage and a master’s degree in Public Administration at the University of New Mexico. She is passionate about mentoring younger peers and volunteers as the Regional Coordinator for the USA within the Robert Bosch Stiftung Alumni Network.
Dr. Krishnendra Meena, Associate Professor of Political Geography, is interested in the ways that borders organise the lives of human beings around the world into political areas called states. He has been teaching courses on political geography and geopolitics. His work has focused on geopolitics, borders and the Indian Ocean region. He publishes regularly on these issues in academic journals and contributes to web magazines.
Currently he is also Secretary General of the Society for Indian Ocean Studies, a non-profit think-tank researching on the Indian Ocean. Dr. Meena's recent work focuses on border theory and its relation to globalisation. In the case of Asia's borders, European and North American ideas, concepts and theories are inadequate to explain the situation. More specifically, India faces a number of transboundary issues and has zones where there are disputes related to water sharing with neighbouring countries.
Dr. Meena intends to explore these transboundary issues in South Asia.
Dagmar Hovestädt is an expert in dealing with issues of the past, surveillance, public journalism and communications. For a decade, from 2011 to 2021, she was the spokeswoman of the Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records in Germany, gaining deep insight into this unique tool of transitional justice.
As the point of contact for international outreach, she specialises in areas including transitional justice research and analysis of archives for peace-building and human rights education. She started her professional life as a journalist in Berlin during the years following unification and relocated to the US during the 2000s, where she worked for numerous TV outlets and documentary productions on many issues of US culture and politics, including repeated assignments during many US elections.
She has acquired considerable expertise in strengthening journalism and fact-based reporting results from those years.
Nadine is a leading TV journalist for ARD, Germany's nationwide largest non-profit and non-governmental TV-broadcaster. She has worked as an editor for „Tagesschau“, Germany's most important news programme. Nadine is currently in charge of all kinds of content including live links with politicians and correspondents for „ARD-Mittagsmagazin“, a programme with 2- to 4 million daily viewers.
She has a diploma in political science. As a Fulbright fellow, she focused on international politics, economics and psychology. She has a passion for stories about people and stays calm even in challenging breaking-news situations. She has a good hand for crisis management and always sees the good in others.
She believes in the power of humanity and education for all and is skilled in listening to and motivating others as well as working to connect different personalities. It is her firm conviction that progress is most effective in teams.
Dr. Antonio Petrov is a tenured Associate Professor and founder of the think-tank, Urban Future Lab at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He is founding-editor of the Harvard publication New Geographies, founder and editor-in-chief of DOMA, served as co-programme director at Archeworks in Chicago, and received his doctorate from Harvard University. His research captures the emergent nature of urban futures while recognising cities as collective social and cultural artefacts.
Not only do his multi-disciplinary background in art, architecture, engineering, urban and cultural studies, his multi-cultural upbringing in Macedonia, Germany, France, Spain, and Turkey, and his value and dialogue based, progressive, and sometimes provocative approach, provide a catalyst for his interest, but between subjective and worldly experiences, environment and culture, his people-centric approach focuses on reimagining local currencies while giving new meaning to the global.
Ms. Françeska Muço is an Albanian civil society activist. From an early age, she has been passionate about civil rights and citizens' engagement in democratic processes. Her activities include advocacy campaigns and youth-related policies in Albania and in the Western Balkan region. She has been a youth representative/board member at the central level, not least in the UN Women Albania Civil Society Advisory Group and the Tirana Youth Municipality Board.
Her professional experience is mostly related to project implementation and fundraising within European Union programmes as well as with various donors in Albania.
Françeska is active in public debate, through participation as a speaker at conferences, in awareness campaigns, TV shows and interviews. Currently, she holds the position of Secretary General of the Albanian Young Professionals Network, she is the Youth Representative of Albania, the Governing Board of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) of the Western Balkans and a member of the UN Youth Advisory Board.
Her fields of interest are: peacebuilding, regional cooperation, gender equality, education and rule of law / good governance.
Carla Delgado is passionate about politics, its analysis and impact in different sectors such as foreign policy, energy transition and education. Since 2020, she has served as head of the political section of the Mexican Embassy to Germany. Prior to this appointment, she worked in the public sector at the Secretariat of Public Education (SEP) and was an associate researcher at the Center for International Studies of the Senate, where she analysed the modernised version of the EU-Mexico Global Agreement.
In her eight years as a public affairs consultant, she learned how to think and explain her own country to national and international companies, public institutions and associations and to promote dialogue between the public, private and NGO sectors. Her academic background is in international politics (MA) and international relations (BA).
Refilwe Nkomo is a Johannesburg based social practice artist, curator, educator and producer creating cultural and artistic interventions, programmes and installations at the intersection of arts and social justice using various mediums including performance, video, text and movement.
Her research and performance won numerous awards and been presented in South Africa, South Korea, Ghana, Botswana, Brazil, Germany and the United States of America. She has founded and co-founded numerous organisations and platforms including We Are Here (WAH), a non-profit organization organisation working with men and boys to dismantle gender based violence, the Izindlovu Collective, which uses the arts for social and transformative change, and Kalima, a social innovation art lab.
She has a Master’s in the arts and politics from New York University (Tisch School of the Arts, Department of Art and Public Policy), where she developed the critically acclaimed choreopoem, Songs for Khwezi. She participated in the German Development Institute’s Managing Global Governance Academy and developed the Sustainable Ideas Game, an interactive tool to teach and spread knowledge of the SDGs. She is a member of the Technical and Advisory Committee to the African Union’s flagship programme, The Great Museum of Africa, a member of the Leadership Circle of IMPACT (Imagining together Platform for Arts, Culture and Conflict Transformation), one of the 200 Mail and Guardian Young South Africans of 2020 and a 2019/2020 Clore Chevening Fellow. She currently serves as the Director of the Visual Arts Network of South Africa.
She is interested in memory, archive, feminisms, afro-futurity, black performance theory, trauma, affect, and social change.
David Hermann is a career diplomat in the German Foreign Service. Professional assignments have taken him from Japanese election campaigns and security developments in the Indo-Pacific to key venues of global governance.
During Germany’s recent membership in the United Nations Security Council, he furthered his expertise in multilateral collaboration to address global challenges. Based on his experience in a demographic that is underrepresented in international diplomacy, his passion lies in pioneering inclusive approaches to policymaking from the local to the global level, bringing visibility to the marginalized and empowering them to contribute their perspectives, for a more just and equitable world and in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.
David has been a member of the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Network since 2016.
Anna Katharina Lau
Anna Katharina Lau is a change maker, management consultant and coach who works with dedication and passion. She likes to challenge, inspire and create change.
Katharina supports organisations across sectors with in organisational development, leadership development and the management of complex change projects. Besides consulting, she coaches and trains C-level leaders. As a programme director for Common Purpose (Leipzig-Halle) she has run leadership development programmes.She was has been a partner at with the management consultancy Ramboll Putz & Partner, where she has been active in the field of project management, strategy, process and organisational development since 2011.
She began her career at Hamburg Airport in 2000, where she worked on several launches of initial (terminal) operation and later held responsibility for business organisation in the logistics unit. Katharina holds a B.A. and a diploma in airport economics, an MBA in business management and logistics, an M.A. in philosophy, politics and economics and is a certified coaching professional.
As part of her studies, she spent semesters abroad in Finland, Greece, the USA and Argentina. In addition to her role as consultant and coach, Katharina has gained experience as a guest lecturer at various universities. In her spare time, she volunteers with several social projects in Germany and abroad, mainly consulting and coaching social entrepreneurs.
Katharina enjoys sport, is willing to learn and likes to make a difference.
Renu Singh is a Research Assistant Professor within the Division of Public Policy, a Junior Fellow of the Jockey Club Institute for Advanced Study, and a Faculty Affiliate with the Institute for Emerging Market Studies at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). She is also a Scholar at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown Law and Research Ambassador for the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
Her research interests include the relationship between political institutions, public opinion, and policy change in the context of public health and health policy. Renu's research is also motivated by broader interests in science policy, sustainability, EU harmonisation, comparative social policy, and global health security and governance. Previously, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the O’Neill Institute and a 2017-18 Fulbright Fellow at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin.
In addition, Renu was (DAAD-) Scholar at the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy in Munich, Germany. Renu has a BA in political science and a BS in microbiology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, an MS in public policy and administration from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and an MA and PhD in government from Georgetown.
Her research has been published by the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, BMJ Global Health, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Foreign Policy Magazine, The Washington Post, and The Conversation, among others.
Nadeem Ahmed works as Social Policy Advisor with the Federal SDGs Support Unit, UNDP Pakistan. Mr. Ahmed provides research and policy support for the implementation of the SDGs in Pakistan. He received his MES degree, specialising in political economy and urban planning, from the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, Canada in 2004.
He earned his M.A. in economics from the University of Karachi in 1989. After graduation in 1989, he started his career as Project Economist with a World Bank Consultant, working on urban development projects in the province of Sindh. He worked extensively on institutional capacity building and policy reforms in two government departments of in Sindh, including planning and development and finance.
In 1993, he joined the Integrated Social Sector Planning project (ISSP) as Project Economist, that which subsequently became the Social Policy and Development Centre (SPDC) in 1995. As an economist with SPDC, he worked on a number of research assignments in the areas of public finance, education, health, governance, project monitoring and evaluation, decentralisation, gender and climate change. However, his core research assignment in SPDC was the development of an Integrated Social Policy and Macro-economic Planning Model for Pakistan.
In Canada, he was mainly involved in teaching assistance assignments with various departments of York University. In 2011, he received a scholarship from the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) for its International Leadership Training Programme, Managing Global Governance (MGG), for six and a half months. He also received Foreign Service Training from the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin under the International Futures Programme in 2011.
In 2019, Hatyja Nuriyeva graduated with a BA in international law from the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan. She was privileged to work for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan for nearly 6 years of her career, where she learned valuable professional skills such as government policy and regulations, political and media landscape, dealing with documentation, assistance during official meetings, preparation of reports, and organisation of meetings and conferences. Her last position in the MFA was 3rd secretary in the Department of Diplomatic Protocol.
In addition, she has experience of working in the Ministry of Justice, the Turkmen State Institute of Democracy and Human Rights, the Embassy of Turkmenistan in the Russian Federation, and the Permanent Representation of Turkmenistan to the UN in Geneva. She was responsible for legal research and problem identification at the Turkmen State Institute of Democracy and Human Rights.
Pursuing her interest in the economic growth of developed countries, Hatyja decided to continue her academic preparation in the Republic of Korea at one of the world’s top public policy and management think-tanks, the Korean Development Institute (KDI), where she acquired important knowledge in diverse areas of international and sustainable development.
Currently, she is studying on a Master of Law programme at the Seoul National University School of Law. Hatyja has an ongoing interest in legal research, since it is crucial for academic work and inventions. She stays actively engaged in climate change policy research at Climate Scorecard, an international NPO located in the USA as well as the Seoul National University Human Rights Center.
She was selected as a Youth Challenge Developer for the 2021 Global Youth Climate Challenge within the framework of the P4G Seoul Summit organised by the MOFA Korea, National Council on Climate and Air Quality. Hatyja was involved in a presentation at the P4G Summit on the topic of 'zero waste'. With her team, she created a preliminary action plan for reducing plastic use in the context of a circular economy. She was awarded a certificate for active participation by the 8th UN Secretary General of UN H.E. Ban Ki-Moon.
Christian Autengruber is an Austrian diplomat, currently serving in Hungary as director of the Austrian Cultural Forum Budapest. Previously, he worked on political matters and neighbourhood policy in Prague and Warsaw and in the field of cultural diplomacy at the directorate for international cultural affairs at the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs in Vienna. Among other responsibilities, he contributed to the development of a new permanent Austrian exhibition at Auschwitz and represented the Ministry oin the board of the fund for the restoration of Jewish cemeteries in Austria.
He is a lecturer for cultural diplomacy at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna.
Sonya Zayneb Ouertani
Sonya Zayneb Ouertani is currently serving as a project manager with the German Foundation for International Legal Cooperation (IRZ), promoting the rule of law and democratisation in post-conflict settings.
Her interest lies in impact-oriented and decolonising analyses of the development-humanitarian-peace nexus and the interconnectedness of peace processes and constitution-building.
Sonya holds a MA in politics and public administration from the University of Konstanz, Germany, with study visits at to Sciences Po Paris, France and the Balsillie School of International Affairs, Canada. She has considerable experiences of working in the field of international cooperation with German governmental and EU institutions in Thailand, Burundi, Jordan, North Macedonia &and Pakistan.
Additionally, she is socially active in Jewish-Muslim dialogue formats and political education on the diversity of Muslim lives in Germany.
Ricardo Baptista Leite is a member of the Portuguese National Parliament, Vice President of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Parliamentary Board, and Head of Public Health at Católica University of Portugal.
He is the founder and President of ‘UNITE Global Parliamentarians Network to End Infectious Diseases’, currently active in more than 80 countries, and Vice President of the ‘Parliamentary Network on The World Bank and International Monetary Fund’. He is a Mayoral Candidate and City Councillor of Sintra (2021 to the -present), and Former Deputy Mayor and Councillor of Cascais (2015-2017).
Prior to being elected as an MP, he was a practising physician trained in Infectious Diseases at the Western Lisbon Hospital Centre and an intern at the World Health Organization (Copenhagen). He completed post-graduate studies at universities including Johns Hopkins University, the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Medical School, and was a PhD candidate at Maastricht University.
He is the founder of ‘CREATING HEALTH – Research and Innovation Funding’ and co-founder of the ‘Estoril Conferences’. He is the main author of the book ‘A Road to a Cure’, among others.
Rike Sohn is the Deputy Head of Bilateral Cooperation at the German Embassy in Tunis, focusing on integrated water management and renewable energies, as well as mitigation, adaptation and migration policies.
She has been working in development cooperation in and with Africa for over 10 years, including positions in research, project implementation and, policy coordination, as well as public relations and advocacy for local governments and civil society. She is fluent in German, English, French, Spanish and Portuguese and has started to learn Arabic.
She has an MA in international political economy and development from Fordham University, NYC, USA, and is studying for a second one in environmental studies (M.S.).
Outside work, she loves to escape into nature as she is also a passionate hiker, a long-term yoga apprentice and a low-wave stand-up paddler with an interest in African dancing.
Charlotte's work lies in creating collective movements, individual leadership and contexts that favour empowerment - from physical spaces to programmes, curricula, events and interactions. She specialises in interculturality, creating the conditions across cultures for individuals, teams and groups to take action and create level playing fields for people to act.
Charlotte has partnered with leading universities (among others INSEAD, Babson College, Les Mines, EMINES and the California College of the Arts), governments (including Barack Obama's White House), cities (including Paris’s first female mayor Anne Hidalgo) and businesses (Generali, Unilever, Ben& Jerry’s) to embed empowerment methodologies in their core programmes, functioning, and policies.
Her practice is based on two decades of fieldwork and applied research and collaborations across disciplines, including social sciences, design and business.
In 2011, following an invitation to collaborate with the Obama administration, Charlotte co-founded Wow!Labs, an innovation studio centred on empowerment. Wow!Labs collaborates all over the world with the private sector, cities, governments, universities and the third sector to create contexts for innovation to emerge. Wow!Labs also initiates projects where there is opportunity for strong impact, setting up private-public partnerships and rounding up co-investors to take ventures off the ground.
PLACE is one such project, creating experiments in Europe to make the link between migration and innovation visible.
Senol (Shen) Yilmaz is a Programme Management Specialist in the office of the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General/Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator in the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq in Baghdad.
Prior to that, Shen served in the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism and the Department of Political Affairs in New York. He also worked as Associate Research Fellow at the Centre of Excellence for National Security in Singapore. As a Mercator Fellow, he carried out research on the nexus of terrorism and organised crime, with stints at the German Federal Foreign Office in Berlin and UNODC’s regional office in Cairo.
For his Master’s degree, Shen studied international relations as a Fulbright Scholar at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, NY, and the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He also holds a German degree in business law.
Dominik Balthasar is an international development expert with about a decade of work experience (post-PhD) in research, policy, and practice. Currently a freelance consultant based in Manila, the Philippines, he most recently assisted KfW Development Bank in devising its engagement in conflict-affected countries.
Previously, Dominik worked in diverse capacities on issues pertaining to state fragility and resilience. While having collaborated with different bi- and multilateral aid organisations in places such as the DR Congo (UNDP), Timor-Leste (World Bank), and Nepal (former DfID), he contributed to the endeavours of think and do tanks in Europe (Chatham House, EU-ISS, swisspeace), North America (USIP), and Africa (IPSS). Being passionate about enhancing the evidence base of policies and programming in international development, he has been drawn into the field of strategic foresight during the past years. Dominik sees much potential in taking foresight to contexts of fragility, and seeks to uncover the inherent linkages between these two fields in order to devise more fitting strategies towards peace and development.
Dominik holds an MSc in International Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science, was awarded a PhD for his work on state fragility in Somalia from the same institution, received training in scenario planning at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, and is a full member of the Association of Professional Futurists.
Ala is the first Secretary at Jordan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She was previously posted to the Jordanian embassy in Berlin and the mission to the EU in Brussels, moving to the Jordanian consulate in Dubai in December.
She is currently working on her PhD on the economic empowerment of Jordanian women.
Backtosch Mustafa is a German medical student and founder of the social startup ApplicAid. He studied medicine in Hamburg and Beirut and conducted research for his doctoral thesis at Harvard Medical School. During his time at the Machine Intelligence Lab at Harvard University, his research focused on computational epidemiology.
He is particularly concerned with addressing inequities in the health care system. His goal is to make systems more equitable for people from diverse backgrounds so that a person's future is not determined by their past.
To this end, he founded three award-winning social organisations (focusing on health and education) while still in college and was a youth NGO representative at UNDP. His social startup ApplicAid has already been honoured by Angela Merkel, and he was named a "G20 - Young Global Changer" for his international commitment.
A particular focus of Dr Anna Irmisch’s work is net-zero alignment and climate impact measurement of the private financial sector, e.g. via investor engagement, ratings, data usage, and disclosure frameworks. The Fulbright alumna holds a PhD about sustainable investing and is a member of the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Stewardship Advisory Committee.
Anna is currently based in Brussels, Belgium, as Climate Finance Program Manager at the European Climate Foundation.
Prior to that, Anna conducted environmental, social and governance (ESG) assessments of listed companies, and led engagement dialogues with their managers worldwide on behalf of Scandinavian institutional investors, in which she concentrated on climate change mitigation and utility sector decarbonization, as well as improving corporate transparency.
Her 10+ years of experience also include roles in international development with a focus on innovation, as a consultant in the global software industry, working for a UK NGO and in academia on sustainability ratings.
Islam Abdel Jabar
Islam Abdel Jabar is a young passionate lawyer and human rights defender from Palestine. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in law from Birzeit University, Palestine.
In 2020, he obtained his Master’s degree in International Studies from the same university. From 2015 to 2018, Islam worked as a practising lawyer and human rights defender in his home country.
Since 2018, Islam has been working as a team assistant (project associate) for the German political foundation Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in East Jerusalem.
Islam has a great interest in many political and development-related topics such as cross-border cooperation, water diplomacy, social democracy and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Islam has participated in numerous training courses, internships and seminars on the aforementioned topics both in Palestine and abroad.
Islam is fluent in Arabic, English and German.
Ms. Rositsa Stoeva is an Executive Manager at the Permanent International Secretariat (PERMIS) of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) organisation, based in Istanbul, Turkey. She is responsible for cooperation with international and regional organisations, including the EU, as well as for project management.
She has managed European funded projects in marine litter, marine research and innovation, blue economy, small-scale cruising/yachting, environmental protection and, youth entrepreneurship for coastal communities in the Black Sea region, resulting in networking and synergy between the stakeholders in the wider Black Sea region and beyond.
Born in Dimitrovgrad, Bulgaria, Rositsa joined the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2003. She served in the Bulgarian missions in Istanbul and Skopje. Before joining the BSEC PERMIS in January 2017, she was Head of Regional Cooperation Department at the South-Eastern Europe Directorate, Counsellor, MFA Bulgaria.
Rositsa has spent 18 years dealing with South-Eastern European/Balkan and Black Sea issues, while travelling extensively in the region. She speaks English, German and Armenian, as well as some Turkish and Russian.
She has two Bachelor’s degrees and a Master’s from Sofia University in political science and philology.
Zourmba Ousmanou has been a career diplomat since 2011.
He has worked in the Ministry of External Relations, precisely at the department in charge of European affairs. He is currently First Secretary at the Embassy of Cameroon in Cairo.
In 2013, he attended a Diplomats' training session organised by the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs ofOffice in Germany.
Since then, in October 2021 he defended a PhD thesis in history, with a focus on colonial heritage and memory issues. Regarding research, he published a paper on Boko Haram in 2014. He also attended a conference in 2019 on heritage issues, with a conference published in MIT reviews.
A full list of his academic papers is available here.
Abed Al Raouf Turman
Abed Al Raouf Turman lives in the Old City of Jerusalem. He completed his Master’s degree in political science at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, Germany and received a Bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Bethlehem University.
He is currently employed at the Goethe Institute in Jerusalem. He also works as a programme coordinator at the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem.
Abed has recently participated in many events/seminars dealing with topics of democracy, human rights, co-existence, religious tolerance and intercultural dialogue. He has also worked as an intern at the German Parliament "Deutscher Bundestag".
Moreover, he is a member of different various local organisations in Jerusalem. He is politically and socially active in issues concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In a personal context, he likes to develop his knowledge and skills in various fields. He is very interested in cultural exchange and believes in sharing experiences with other people from different backgrounds.
Samiya Abdi is a Senior Programme Specialist at Public Health Ontario and a PhD student in the field of Health Professional Education at Western University.
Samiya is passionate about making public health systems more equitable, challenging intersecting forms of oppression, and understanding marginalisation in knowledge production, research, and practice.
She holds a Master's degree in Public Health from the University of Waterloo, as well as a Graduate Diploma in social innovation and systems thinking. Samiya has extensive experience in community engagement work and, has co-founded international movements such as the Somali Gender Equity Movement and Famine Resisters, alongside local initiatives such as Aspire2Lead and the Toronto Muslim Youth Political fellowship.
Throughout her career, Samiya has managed multi-million-dollar projects within the corporate sector as well as government-led health initiatives nationally and locally. Samiya is the winner of The Lori Chow Award for exceptional leadership, the winner of Woman of the Year Award, by the Federation of Muslim Women, and the MAX Woman of the Year Award.
Samiya is also a School of Social Entrepreneurs graduate, a Global Fellow with the League of Entrepreneurs and a BMW Responsible Leader.
In 1999, Samira Irsane graduated from Lille 2 Law School in France, earning an L.L.M. in European and international law.
Before that, she studied law at Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis, USA. Most recently, in 2021, she earned a university diploma in energy law and international arbitration law from the Law School of Nanterre-Paris. Professionally, she began her career as a legal assistant at the General Secretariat of the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
It was at the UN and at the EU Commission that she gained first-hand experience of working in the field of human rights law. Following these two experiences, she went on to work in the French government, initially with the Ministry of External Affairs and eventually moving on to the Ministry of Justice, where she was primarily responsible for policies dealing with asylum seekers and legal aid.
More recently, as a legal expert at the Ministry of Ecological Transition, she was a negotiator in European law and a political and diplomatic advisor in the fields of climate change, sustainable transport, energy, urban planning and environment, which included overseeing legal responsibilities.
In addition, as Sustainable Development Advisor at the French Embassy in the Netherlands, she was able to focus specifically on the subject of climate justice. Currently, as a senior legal expert for the Ministry of Finance, she has greatly broadened her expertise in matters of mutual assistance and international judicial cooperation as well as in matters of judicial sovereignty.
Maia is an expert on fighting disinformation and behavioural changes. She has 15 years of experience in political management, foreign affairs, and communication. She is a speaker, writer and moderator.
She believes that we need to change the way we communicate in order, to promote more understanding between individuals. Maia has cooperated with a number of foundations and NGOs, where she worked on various projects concerning democratisation and political parties training in Eastern Europe.
From 2011 to -2015, she worked in the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland, where she was responsible for transatlantic and European relations. She is a co-founder and Head of Intelligence and Campaigns of Alliance4Europe, Coordinator of the European Front and co-creator of Keyboard Warriors in Poland.
Maia is a barrister educated in Poland and the United States. In her free time she enjoys horseriding skiing and surfing. She practises Ashtanga yoga and meditation. Politics and modern art are her passion.
Zdenko Grobenski is a Senior Policy Officer and Agile Coach at the German Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. He joined the public service in 2009, after having worked in Hannover and at the German Embassy in Lomé.
As part of his ministerial duties, he was responsible for European and international social policy, inclusion, and labour protection. He has been the envoy to the EU Social Protection Committee and Member of the Delegation to the 1st World Conference on the Development of Universal Social Security Systems in Brasilia.
In 2016, he was a Fellow of the XIIth Bellevue Programme of the Robert Bosch Foundation, seconded to the Italian Ministry of Labour and Social Policy.
Since 2014, he has been the coordinator of the Interministerial Network Circle. Zdenko studied law, psychology and administrative sciences and holds both German State Exams in law. Zdenko's focus lies on social cohesion, connecting people, creative understanding, and agile processes.
In his spare time, in addition to engaging with people and his interest in languages, Zdenko enjoys working as a night watchman.
Andreea feels lucky to have spent the last two decades in the pursuit of justice, a good society and lives that are worth living.
Her career has taken her from social enterprises to NGOs and the EU institutions. She has worked on poverty, hunger, sustainability, health and human rights. Her advocacy has helped put little-understood problems on the policy agenda of the EU, the UN and other international bodies.
In 2019, with Brexit looming, she had a profound loss-of-faith moment. She began questioning the prevailing approaches to change, and their ability to withstand threats to liberal democracy and to inclusive cultural norms.
She moved from London to Brussels and set up Flare, a “think-and-do tank” that makes future visioning possible in real-life spaces, for people from all walks of life. She now devotes her energy to bringing to life a new societal narrative for our post-COVID future.
Patrick M. Seiler is currently working at the project management office of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), overseeing research grants focused on zero emission aircrafts.
He holds a PhD in engineering from the Technical University Darmstadt and an engineering diploma in aerospace engineering from the University of Stuttgart. During this time he won a ISEP grant and a Fulbright scholarship and spent a year abroad studying at Virginia Tech in the US.
His research on multiphase flows won the ECIS 2018 Langmuir award, was presented at seven international conferences and published in three journals. Between his time in Stuttgart and Darmstadt, he experimented on jet engine combustors at DLR in Cologne.
He spent his formative years and youth growing up in multiple European countries. In his free time, he enjoys photography or can be found experimenting in the kitchen.
An award-winning law professor and attorney, Myanna Dellinger, M.Sc., J.D., PhD candidate (political science, 2022), graduated at the top of her law school class, Order of the Coif (UO) in 2008. She then worked for state and federal-level judges at both the trial and appellate levels, including the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Myanna is currently a full, tenured law professor teaching business law and public international law. She also serves as judge pro tem for the County of Riverside. She researches and writes extensively on climate change risks to people, corporations, and governments, as well as endangered species law and policy.
She is a Fulbright Specialist Scholar in climate change law. Myanna has published more than 400,000 words in major legal journals and has been ranked in the top 10% of all authors by download on SSRN for four consecutive years. More than 100 judges, attorneys, and scientists have cited Myanna’s publications.
She started the Global Energy and Environmental Law Podcast, which has had more than 25,000 listeners.
Sylvia Mukasa is Founder & CEO of GlobalX Investments Ltd (GlobalX Innovation Labs), whose mission is to Make Innovations Happen using Emerging Technologies. She believes in sustainable solutions and empowering entrepreneurs to imagine, design and create a better world.
She is a fellow of the US Department of State’s Silicon Valley based TechWomen Program launched by Hillary Clinton. For her work, she earned a special mention in the closing speech of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2015 by Maria Contreras-Sweet, former US Government’s Lead Minister on Entrepreneurship and member of President Obama’s cabinet.
She has served as Country Co-Founder/Chapter Lead (Kenya) for Women in Tech Africa, the largest female technology focused group in Africa that won the UN’s EQUALS in Tech Award, Leadership Category in 2018.
She has served as Next Einstein Forum (NEF) Ambassador (Kenya); a platform that connects science, society and policy in Africa and the world. She is a BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt Responsible Leader since 2019.
Raphael Karutz is currently finalising his PhD at the University of Leipzig and the Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ).
In collaboration with Stanford University, he is investigating the food-water energy nexus of cities in the Global South, focusing on Pune (India) and Amman (Jordan). He is especially interested in long-term urbanisation trajectories and how these can be shaped in sustainable and resilient ways despite the dual challenge of climate change and rapid population growth.
Raphael has lived and worked in Tanzania and Colombia and strives for more balanced north-south partnerships in academia and other sectors.
As co-founder of zora – the transformation lab, he develops education formats on climate justice and urban sustainability, facilitates stakeholder participation processes, and advises non-profit initiatives oin their organisational development.
Sabina is a digital diplomat, an out-of-the-box thinker and problem solver with a background in international relations and international law.
She is currently working as an expert for human rights and digital affairs at the Mission of Slovenia to the UN Office in Geneva. Her work experience spans the public sector, think-tanks and NGOs and ranges from UN affairs and foreign policy to strategic communications.
She recently completed short-term assignments at the Slovenian embassies in Canada, Czechia and New York. Previously, she worked in the MFA's Office of the Director-General for Economic Diplomacy, at the Centre for European Perspective, at the German Marshall Fund of the US and at the UN Association of Slovenia. Sabina is a former UN Youth Delegate of Slovenia.
She holds an MA in international relations with international law from the Brussels School of International Studies, University of Kent, and completed a postgraduate specialisation programme in diplomacy at the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, a research programme at the University of Seoul and ASEF Public Diplomacy Training in Cambodia.
For over 20 years, Alenka has been a diplomat at the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Most of the time her work has focused on the region of the Western Balkans – she was Director for Southeast Europe and Enlargement between 2010 and 2019.
She took part in many regional endeavours and discussions and witnessed numerous regional developments, which made her sensitive to the fragility of a post-war multi-ethnic environment such as the Balkans and a convinced advocate of accountability and the reconciliation process. She believes that good neighbourly relations are built primarily on the responsibilities and exemplary communication of political leaders. To sum up her experience – she is also a staunch supporter of the region's place within the European Union.
Prior to engaging with the Western Balkans, she was an advisor in the Office of the State Secretary, and in 2008 she was part of the Slovenian EU Presidency 2008 CIVCOM team, which broadened her knowledge of civilian aspects of crisis management as well as EU endeavours in this field.
Between June 2019 and March 2020, she assumed the position of Foreign Policy Advisor in the Office of the Prime Minister and from April 2020 onwards, she devoted her professional time to EU issues as Director for General and Institutional EU Affairs. In this role, she was involved in the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU for the second time.
Matej Gregorec is currently working as an assistant with the Permanent Representation of Slovenia to the European Union. He has been working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia since 2015.
He studied European studies at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and continued with a Master’s in international relations. He also took part in an international student exchange at Aarhus University, Denmark. During his study years, he participated in various MUN and student conference activities.
When he started working for the Ministry, he became involved with the preparation and organisation of the Bled Strategic Forum (BSF) international conference – a unique and inclusive platform bringing together participants from all facets of society. His main tasks included the formulation of the event’s concept and seeking to connect and establish new partnerships with a wide range of actors pursuing a similar vision. He was also active in the organisation of other various high-level and international events taking place under the auspices of the BSF.
Furthermore, he was involved in two short- term observation OSCE/ODIHR missions, the FYROM name referendum in 2018 and the second round of Presidential elections in Ukraine in 2019. In 2015, Matej was awarded the 'Friend of the year award for successful work - Young BSF' by the Zavod Ypsilon - Ypsilon institute. He was also a member of the 7th generation of AmCham young professionals.
His main interests include diplomacy, innovative decision-making processes, design thinking, future studies and digitalisation. He is fluent in English, German and French. In his free time, he likes to learn about new things, sail and discover new places.
Born in Ljubljana (1968), Anja Fabiani first finished university and then completed a Master’s degree (on the subject of sociology and New Europe,) followed by a PhD on Soft/Smart Power and Leadership (2014) at the University of Nova Gorica, Slovenia. She published a book on Smart Power and Leadership in 2017 (in English, publisher: South-East University Tetovo).
Her biography is available on the SICRIS information platform.
Since 2007, she has been working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia. She is temporarily working at the Department for Multilateral Affairs, covering specialised Agencies of UNO, including WHO. She worked abroad at the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Slovenia to NATO.
As Anja identifies with the idea of Western liberal democracies as the crucial segment of contemporary societies, she was a proactive member of the liberal European affiliation ALDE, defending the human rights of minorities.
She has also written for the Friedrich Naumann Foundation and was active in defending the democratisation of Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. Her personal interests are travelling, arts, reading, sports and, nature. She likes to engage in philanthropy.
Blanka Jamnišek, M.A,. graduated in psychology (University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, 1982), specialised in international relations – Diplomatic Academy (University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences, 1999) and completed her MA in international politics (CERIS, Bruxelles and Faculté Jean Monet, Université de Paris XI, 2001).
In 2020 she completed training to become a certified mediator (Zavod Rakmo, Ljubljana). In 1991, she worked for the Slovenian Government at the Ministry of Information, later Public Relations Office. She held the post of Head of the Public Relations Office at the Ministry of Defence from 1994 to 1996. In 1996, she joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as desk officer for bilateral relations with the USA, Canada, the UK and Ireland. From 1998 to 2003, she was posted to the Permanent Mission of Slovenia to NATO and WEU in Brussels as a diplomatic counsellor. From 2004- to 2011, she was a member of diplomatic teams for chairing the OSCE (2005) and the Council of Europe (2008). She also led the Department of OSCE and the Council of Europe.
From 2011 to 2015, she served in Austria as an Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Slovenia to the United Nations, the OSCE and other international organisations in Vienna.
Blanka introduced promotion of human rights education into Slovenian foreign policy in 2005 during the Slovenian Chairmanship of the OSCE. She founded a new human rights education project for children and co-authored the publication ''OUR RIGHTS''. This human rights education tool for children was operationalised as a pilot project in a variety of countries and is still ongoing.
In 2015, she was appointed by the Government of Slovenia as the National Contact Point for Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and currently serves as a member of the Steering Group within the Global R2P Focal Points Network. Her efforts are focused on awareness-raising and prevention of processes that could lead to mass atrocities, as R2P is one of Slovenia's foreign affairs priorities.
Blanka is also the Deputy Head of the Slovenian Delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which promotes education, research and remembrance. Human rights education and R2P were adopted by the Parliament and the Government as foreign affairs priorities and are included in both the Declaration and the Strategy of Slovenian Foreign Policy.
Miriam Možgan works as a strategic communicator at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, specialising in disinformation trends and counter disinformation measures and policies. Last year, she helped set up the newly established Diplomatic Academy at the MFA.
During her career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she has specialised in the digitalisation of public diplomacy, public relations and strategic communications. Between 2009 and 2012 she served as Secretary General of the Bled Strategic Forum and helped to design and organise BSF, which has grown into one of the biggest international forums in the region.
She served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the Slovenian Embassy in Washington (2005-2009), where she was chargée d’affaires from 2008 to 2009, and in Paris (2013-2017). She worked as a public relations advisor to the President of Slovenia (2003-2005) and as Head of Public Relations at the Ministry of Defence (1997-2001).
Miriam began her career as a radio journalist with national radio and television.
Jana Urh Lesjak
Jana Urh Lesjak is an experienced advisor with experience working in government (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and the research community (University of Ljubljana).
She has skills in climate diplomacy, global challenges, political anthropology and international relations.
She is a strong community and social services professional with a PhD in political anthropology and is passionate about connecting the dots between climate change, security, migration, development and human rights.
Her strategic foresight gives her a forward-looking focus. She is committed to climate neutrality with innovative solutions for future generations.
Anemarie Da Silveira Bender
Anemarie da Silveira Bender graduated in dentistry and received further technical training on a Family Health Residency Programme.
After two years packed with experiences, she chose to undertake a one-year training course on management of primary healthcare settings, working at the State-Level Health Department, and later enrolled on a Master’s degree course on dynamics of health and welfare, sparking an interest in social determinants of health.
Shortly after obtaining her degree, she started working at the Ministry of Health on labour management, gaining experience in the areas of strategic planning, policy analysis and project management. Seeking to understand the impact of information and communication technologies on health, she completed a second specialisation course, and briefly collaborated on the development of the digital health programme in Brazil.
Anemarie is a life-long learner who loves challenges, and was selected to work specifically on long-term strategies for the country with the Presidency of the Republic. She is currently a Policy Analyst for socioeconomic issues at the Special Secretariat for Strategic Affairs of the Presidency of the Republic of Brazil, and a student of the MGG Academy 2021.
After graduating in international relations from the University of Ljubljana, in 2002 Gorazd Rencelj completed an MA in European studies at the Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland. He also has a Master’s in international public policy from the School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University, Washington, DC.
He joined the Slovenian diplomatic service in 2004 and served as Foreign Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister between 2004 and 2008. His diplomatic posts include London (2008-2012) and Washington, DC (2013-2016). From 2017 to 2019, he was State Secretary at the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Slovenia. Since August 2019, Gorazd has served as the Slovenian Ambassador to Brazil.
A father of four, he enjoys reading and sports.
Dominic Thomas is Professor of European Languages and Transcultural Studies at UCLA, CNN European Affairs Media Commentator and an Associate Member of the Centre of International History and Political Studies of Globalization (CRHIM, Lausanne, Switzerland).
He was a Research Professor at the Humboldt Universität (2012), won a Fulbright Commission Summer Award (Germany and Belgium, 2011) and was elected to the Academy of Europe in 2015.
He is an author, co-author, editor or co-editor of numerous works on memory, identity, colonial history, racism, immigration, and museology focusing on Europe and Africa: Museums in Postcolonial Europe (2010), Racial Advocacy in France (2013), Colonial Culture in France since the Revolution (2014), The Invention of Race (2014), The Colonial Legacy in France (2017), Sexe, race et colonies (2018), and Visualizing Empire (2021), and editor of the Global African Voices series at Indiana University Press, focusing on translations of African literature into English.
He has experience in curating and lecturing / public programming at the Musée quai Branly and National Museum of the History of Immigration (Paris), and is an evaluator and reviewer for the European Science Foundation, FWF Austrian Science Fund, National Centre of Science and Technology Evaluation (Republic of Kazakhstan), ARC Advanced Projects (Belgium), Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Swiss National Science Foundation, Agence Nationale de la Recherche (France), Research Foundation Flanders (Belgium, 2016), National Science Foundation (Washington, D.C.) and Leverhulme Research Fellowships (U. K).
From an early age, Dirk Brengelmann has had a keen interest in the political and economic foundations of our global system, which is why he applied to the Federal Foreign Office after working in international banking for a few years. Apart from several bilateral positions, for example as German Ambassador to Brazil and the Netherlands, his professional life has mainly comprised of multilateral posts, including in NATO. Brengelmann has found the multilateral sphere very enriching, especially since it entails working with people from different countries to achieve common goals. He has also come to believe during his career that public-private partnerships such as the Global Diplomacy Lab are particularly well suited to linking people with different professional and cultural backgrounds.
After his retirement from the diplomatic service in 2021, Brengelmann took up a teaching position at the Institute of Political Science at University of Bonn, also serving as Senior Fellow at the University’s Centre for Advanced Security Strategic and Integration Studies (CASSIS). His main focus is on security policy and multilateralism. He advises the Bonn Academy for Research and Teaching of Practical Politics as a member of the Board of Trustees. In the International Commission on Missing Persons, Brengelmann serves on the Board of Commissioners out of personal conviction and has been particularly active in its Ukraine project. As of 1 March 2023, Dirk Brengelmann is taking over the role of Dean from Ruprecht Polenz, who has decided to retire.
Professor Irena Creed is an internationally acclaimed ecosystem scientist with wide-ranging research interests, including planetary health, climate change, watershed sciences, communities at risk and the science-policy interface. She has studied environmental issues across Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. She is a former Canada Research Chair, and her scholarship has been recognised with various awards, honours and professorships, including a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, and an honorary doctorate of agricultural sciences from Uppsala University in Sweden.
Irena has a reputation as a scholar who creatively integrates disciplines to advance scientific understanding of global environmental changes: to explore their effect on human health and wellbeing and to develop relevant public policy to effect positive social change that leads to social justice and equity.
Irena has a Ph.D. in geography, an M.Sc. in botany and environmental studies and a B.Sc. in zoology.
Omair Ahmad holds an MA in international studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and an MA in international relations from Syracuse University, NY. He has worked as a policy adviser to the British High Commission in New Delhi, as an analyst for PRS Legislative Research, which examines issues before the Indian Parliament, as a journalist for Voice of America in Washington DC and Outlook Magazine in India, and as a programme manager for the Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung in Delhi, handling their Tibet and Kashmir projects.
He is also an award-winning author, with books published in multiple languages. His last novel, Jimmy the Terrorist, was shortlisted for the Man Asian Award, and his last non-fiction book was on the political history of Bhutan.
Enas Halaiqah is a knowledge and program management specialist with experience in international relations, digital financial, communications, and research.
Enas has been working at the Jordan Payments & Clearing Company (JoPACC) since 2019, currently as Senior Knowledge Management and Business Analytics Manager, and serves as Board of Directors Secretary. Before that, she worked as Project Coordinator for Digital Financial Services at the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. She also worked for ten years at the Office of HM Queen Rania of Jordan as Global Outreach Manager, where she was in charge of the Queen’s international engagements and relations.
Enas holds a MA in Intercultural Communication and European Studies from Hochschule Fulda, Germany. In her Bachelor at University of Jordan, she studied English and German as Foreign Languages.
Besides her career, she is very interested in global intercultural discourse and has participated in many courses and workshops, including the Civil Service Development Programme at Sandhurst Academy in the UK in 2015, a 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 that was themed “Regional Leaders & Global Challenges”. She also represented Jordan at the UN Global Youth Leadership Summit in New York in 2006.
Enas is a member of MELA, a regional network of business leaders with representatives in over 13 countries in the Middle East, and she has served as the network’s Jordan Chapter President from 2018 to 2020.
Ms Lunyolo is a young professional with diverse experience in research, development cooperation, as well as humanitarian and international development. She studied environmental science at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda, and integrated water resources management at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences in Germany. Ms Lunyolo has won several scholarships not only for her academic study, but also for her social and professional engagement, most notably a scholarship from the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) for the European Forum Alpbach in Austria and the Carlo Schmid Programme, through which she worked for the World Food Programme in Timor-Leste, Asia and joined the Bosch Alumni Network. While in Uganda, she worked as a research assistant on international projects hosted by Makerere University (May 2015 – January 2016), the climate sensitive water resources component of German Development Cooperation (February 2016 – March 2017) and most recently, she served as a liaison support for the Water and Sanitation Development Partners’ working group during her tenure at the Austrian Embassy, Coordination Office for Development Cooperation in Kampala (April 2020 – April 2021). While at the Embassy, Ms Lunyolo supported the development and initiation of three major projects with IIASA, UNDP and UWASNET in Uganda. In May 2021, Ms Lunyolo was selected as one of nine early career fellows from a strong pool of candidates from across the world and she is supporting projects and initiatives of the Nairobi Work Programme, which is the Knowledge-to-Action Hub for Climate Adaptation and Resilience at the UN Climate Change Secretariat in Bonn, Germany.
Socially, she tries to inspire young people, especially women, to get involved in the fight against climate change. Indeed, in August 2021, she was selected to co-host the climate change impact field for the Bosch Alumni Network until June 2022.
NAN Haifen is a freelance author and consultant for Sino-German cooperation with a focus on media and transcultural communication. From 2012 to 2016, she managed various China programmes on behalf of the Robert Bosch Foundation, including their Chinese microblog on Weibo and the journalist exchange programme “Media Ambassadors China – Germany”. Haifen Nan studied journalism and communication science at Nanjing University and media informatics at RWTH Aachen University. Her doctorate research at Heidelberg University focuses on “Chinese Media and the Transformation of Identity“. Haifen Nan regularly writes articles about Germany for various Chinese media, including Yangtze Evening, the Chinese evening paper with the highest circulation. Since 2011, she has been actively engaged in the exchange between journalists from China and Germany.
Ankie Petersen works as a staff officer in cultural property protection at the Royal Dutch Armed Forces. She works in the Cultural Affairs and Information Section, part of the 1 Civil-Military Cooperation Command (1CMIco), where she leads and coordinates efforts to implement cultural property protection (CPP) within the Dutch Armed Forces. Her work involves designing training
programmes and tools for the military, projects for the implementation of CPP in military planning processes, and engaging in civil-military collaboration projects for the advancement of CPP and the implementation of the 1954 Hague Convention on both the national and international stage. Furthermore, she is in charge of knowledge development on recent challenges related to culture, cultural heritage and (hybrid) conflicts. Ankie Petersen has a background in critical heritage studies, with an MA in heritage studies and an MA in design cultures from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and a BA in language and culture studies from Utrecht University. The relationship between culture, conflict and politics has always been a red thread running through her (academic and post-academic work). She previously worked for the Dutch National Commission to UNESCO as a policy coordinator in culture and heritage and as a lecturer in world heritage and conflict at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. In her current capacity as a heritage professional (aside from her function as staff officer), she publishes internationally on heritage and politics (e.g. in The Routledge Companion to Italian Fascist Architecture, 2021), community participation and coordinates heritage management projects. For her efforts in the Dutch cultural heritage field, Ankie was awarded the 2021 Monument Talent Prize by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, a national prize for young professionals in the sector.
Christian Friebe is excited about the energy transition towards zero carbon. As a mechanical engineer, he spent some time studying international business in France and India, gaining practical experience in the field of energy policy in the MENA region supported by the Bosch Foundation and completing a PhD on the market diffusion of renewable energy technologies in emerging economies. While discussing the intermediate findings of his research at the COP18 in Doha, Christian realised that many countries are closely following the energy transition in Germany. Therefore, he decided to shift his professional focus toward the German energy transition.
For nine years, he has been working at Thüga AG, an investment company that holds minority shares in more than 100 municipal utilities in Germany. As an expert in energy and climate policy, he is responsible for translating and shaping upcoming legislation for decision-makers within the network of municipal utilities. Thereby, he builds bridges between the high-level targets and measures from European and German policy-makers and the implementation of decarbonisation measures at the local level. He covers electricity, district heat and gas supplies and infrastructure.
During the last few years, Christian has specialised in the energy transition of the gas sector. He initiated and contributed to several industry initiatives for the transition of the gas distribution infrastructure and for the market uptake of biomethane and hydrogen.
Aidah Bukubuza is a digital advocate with over seven years’ experience in systems innovation, data management, cyber and digital security and information systems. She holds an MSc in digital information management and systems innovation from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom, a BSc in information technology from Makerere University and in certified enterprise and innovation from Northwestern University, Illinois, USA. She is a team leader at the AYDIA Gender and Technology Initiative, an organisation delivering data and gender-inclusive technology aimed at the SDGs.
She is a Fellow of Tuwezeshe, a feminist leadership organisation where she showcased her work in digital security, cyber peacebuilding and online safety for women and girls. She is also a Fellow of Mandela Washington USA, an initiative of President Obama, and a Chevening Award Scholar in the UK.
Aidah is a passionate digital leader and a very confident innovation researcher, speaker and ICT trainer, driving women empowerment in the technology eco space to bridge the digital divide gap.
Hannah Bamwerinde is a climate change advocate working with the Impact Market and Talent Protocol. She is also a co-founder of Adventures With Locals and an educator at Kabale University. She works in creating indigenous sustainable systems, and is an expert in grassroots networks and collaboration in developing countries. She is passionate about integrating local systems into technology in Uganda. She is a tour operator with over eight years of experience in the travel business. She believes that through tourism, we can create change by supporting local communities, young women and local guides, thus making a difference. Buy local, support a local today!
Nozipho Makhanda is a development consultant with over five years of experience in the civil society sector. She has managed major CSO initiatives across Africa and Europe and is a dedicated climate action activist. Her competences are in social innovation with a particular focus on climate change, environmental management and providing sustainable solutions to developmental problems in various geographical locations around the world.
Nozipho is a sociologist by profession, and specialised in global studies, migration and sustainability. Nozipho is a very adaptable person and possesses a number of skills in research and data management, social media marketing and excellent interpersonal skills. Prior to this, Nozipho was also a facilitator for diversity, equity and inclusion from 2017 to 2019. She has acquired considerable expertise in peace and governance and represented the African Union as a Peace Ambassador in 2021 during the African Union’s Silencing the Gun campaign.
Omair Ahmad holds an MA in international studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and an MA in international relations from Syracuse University, NY. He has worked as a policy adviser to the British High Commission in New Delhi, as an analyst for PRS Legislative Research, which examines issues before the Indian Parliament, as a journalist for Voice of America in Washington DC and Outlook Magazine in India, and as a programme manager for the Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung in Delhi, handling their Tibet and Kashmir projects. He is also an award-winning author, with books published in multiple languages. His last novel, Jimmy the Terrorist, was shortlisted for the Man Asian Award, and his last non-fiction book was on the political history of Bhutan.
Marjorie Brans believes the world is undergoing a second Copernican revolution and wonders: “What systems reconcile free markets with care for all creatures in all directions for all times?” Seeking an elusive answer, she has travelled the world looking for clues in Asia, Africa, South America, Europe and the Subarctic. Around the world, she has advised humanitarian organisations, multinational corporations, venture capital funds, tiny social businesses and large not-for-profits on building a better world today. To recruit fellow explorers on the quest for environmental sustainability and social justice, she (co-)founded the School for Social Entrepreneurs Canada, the League of Intrapreneurs Canada, CLARION (Community-Led Action to Resilience in our Neighbourhoods), PhotoVoice US, and the Maitri Platform for global humanitarian response. Somewhere along the journey, she won awards including Environmental Defence Green Champion of 2017, Tufts University Presidential Award for Citizenship, Spirit of Lord Michael Young Award, the Sir James Woods Award for Community Development, and was named a BMW Foundation Responsible Leader. Marjorie is passionate about the wilderness and reconnecting to the ancestral heritage common to all humanity on the planet.
Shawgi is a youth advocate and a social activist from the Sudan with vast experience in the non-profit sector and a particular focus on social justice and community development.
He works as the co-founder of Emerging Leaders and the director of Public Leadership for PLACE Network, a Paris-based start-up that unlocks newcomer talent in Europe and matches it with economic actors in entrepreneurship, employment, public leadership and higher education. He works on changing the negative narrative about migrants in Europe by empowering newly arrived migrants to consolidate their place and integrate into their new host societies.
He is also a core team member of the Global Citizenship Education Youth Network and co-chairperson of the “Education Above All” youth advocates initiative, and also part of the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Network. Simultaneously, he is part of other youth groups and initiatives focused on addressing and accomplishing the SDGs.
Shawgi’s work is centred around youth and supporting their needs at different levels while also mainstreaming the idea that youth demands should not be considered a privilege for some but a right for every young person in the world.
Uduak Amimo is the founder of Uduak Amimo Coaching & Consulting. As an executive coach and facilitator, she works with individuals and organisations to advance social change. Her career started in the media and spans over 20 years as a journalist and broadcaster with Reuters, the Voice of America, the BBC and Citizen TV in Kenya, the United States, the United Kingdom and Ethiopia. She founded the Ramani Life Group to offer career guidance to students in low-income secondary schools in Kenya. She is also the founder of The Comms Table, a professional development programme for young communicators. Uduak has an MA in communication and public affairs and a BA in international relations (cum laude). She is currently pursuing an MA in business and organisational psychology. She is a Tutu Fellow, a Bloomberg ALI Media Fellow, an Aspen Global Leadership Network Fellow, a Boehm Media Fellow and a Global Social Impact Fellow. She is the chairperson of the Advisory Board of the Baraza Media Lab and a board member of the Junior League of Nairobi.
Peter is a futurist, impact-driven-entrepreneur, educator and a former American diplomat: his passion is to develop technology to create impact. He founded and leads the Ayadee Foundation, which convenes networks of sectoral experts with new technologies to develop disruptive solutions to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with participants from more than 30 countries. Peter also leads the Ayadee Holding Corp. (AHC), which invests in and develops its own social impact innovations around uses of blockchain technology. Its current portfolio includes global supply chain tracking through TRAK.id, tracking and preventing counterfeit garments using NFTs through Garment Chain.
Education is a key area of Peter’s work as well, as most recently he launched the first Blockchain Academy in Central America, at El Salvador´s Monica Herrera School of Communications, the leading university in the region for design thinking. Peter also teaches innovation and entrepreneurship at North Africa’s top business school, speaks regularly at international conferences and universities, and he has designed a course for UNITAR on how blockchain can be used to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Peter is a former US diplomat who has represented the United States in Germany and Egypt, and he continues to work with the public sector with consulting projects focused on digitalisation and technology policy for the European Commission, the United States Agency for International Development and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Early in his career he worked at Standard & Poor´s Global Markets, Citi Banamex and the African Development Bank.
Peter earned his MA in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
Director of market strategy, business development and external affairs (for the last six years in Netafim) with extensive experience, working for publicly listed companies, governmental organisations, non-profit and privately held media organisations. I have worked in more than ten locations around the globe and have been based in Paris, Brussels, Strasbourg and Tel Aviv, operating in financial services, the media and agtech. I started as a journalist and producer in Israel while studying for a BA in political sciences. I relocated to Europe to work as an assistant to a French MEP, where I collaborated with diplomats, politicians, academics, the media and diverse institutions. Following three years in the European Parliament, I moved to Paris to complete my MA in international relations at Sciences Po University. Upon graduation, I joined BNP Paribas HQ in Paris, where I worked for nine years in several business roles with teams across the globe. In 2005, I became a member of the media team affiliated to the Israel Prime Minister’s Office, as part of a special task force for the disengagement from Gaza. It has been now more than six years since I returned to Israel. Since my return, I have been working for Netafim in various positions, contributing to the development of markets like Africa, the Middle East and several countries in Europe, building relationships with various stakeholders related to agtech and water management. During those years, I have worked on various aspects of water issues and challenges. I have volunteered throughout my career for causes close to my heart.
Sufyan serves as Deputy Director and General Counsel at CAIR-Chicago, a non-profit organisation that works to combat hate and discrimination faced by Muslim Americans and other marginalised communities. Sufyan is a trained mediator and facilitator, and speaks frequently on topics of social justice, civil rights and diversity.
Sufyan is a Cook County Human Rights Commissioner, the co-chair of the DePaul Law Diversity Council, and on the board of directors for the Chicago Access Network Television (CAN-TV), the Greater Chicago Legal Clinic, and ACLU of Illinois, where he serves as the organisation’s Affiliate Equity Officer. He also hosts a weekly talk show, Change Agents, where he spotlights critical issues impacting our communities, and amplifies the voices and efforts of leaders and organisations working to bring positive change to Chicago.
Prathima Manohar is an entrepreneur with a focus on sustainable living and eco-tourism. Prathima chairs the think-do-tank on Liveable Cities, The Urban Vision. She is the director of a portfolio of leisure hospitality resorts in coastal Karnataka in India. As an urbanist, she has worked on projects and researched on issues such as urban innovation, liveability, placemaking, affordable housing, participatory planning and green cities. As part of her tourism business, she is setting up a centre for micro enterprise aimed at training marginalised rural women entrepreneurs in sustainable living and wellbeing.
Prathima holds a BA in architecture. She was awarded Stanford University’s Fellowship at the Centre of Democracy Development & Rule of Law. She has been a Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center Fellow.
She hosts a series of talk shows on Design Disruption, Inclusive Cities and The Urban Manifesto. She has been a columnist on architecture, urban development and design with India’s leading news daily – The Times of India. She has been a contributing TV journalist with France24 and TF1. She has also written for the opinion pages of the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and has reviewed for the Architecture Record.
In 2017, she was listed as one of the Most Impactful Global Social Innovators at World CSR Day. She was awarded the top Next Generation Architects driving innovations in Indian Urbanscape by the iGen Design Forum 2016. She is CONSIUSA’s “Young Global Leaders” awardee.
Maciej Kuziemski is a Managing Director of Philanthropy for Impact, a Central European initiative aiming to increase the region’s democratic resilience through systemic philanthropy. Prior to that, Maciej spent a decade in public policy, academia and social entrepreneurship. He conducted independent research at the Harvard Kennedy School and the European University Institute. He also advised the Ditchley Foundation, the European Commission as well as the British and Polish Governments. Maciej earned a BA from the University of Warsaw and an MPP from the University of Oxford. He is the recipient of the John Lewis Fellowship, the Atlantic Council Millennium Fellowship and the Fulbright-Schuman Award. He co-founded the Coalition for Polish Innovations; Kuchnia Konfliktu and Zofia Institute. Recently, Maciej’s work has been recognised by the BMW Stiftung and the Trilateral Commission.
Enrique Noria Freyre is a Peruvian lawyer who studied at the University of Santa Maria in Arequipa (Peru). He studied sociology at the National University of San Agustin, also in Arequipa. He has worked as a lawyer in the public and private sector. Later on he became part of the Peruvian Diplomatic Service after studying two years at the Javier Perez de Cuellar Diplomatic Academy. He has an MA in diplomacy and international relations. As a diplomat, he has worked at the Human Resources Office, the United Nations and Multilateral Division and at the Protocol Division. Abroad he has worked at the General Consulate of Peru in Madrid, the Peruvian Embassy in India and the Permanent Mission in Vienna. Currently he is Minister Counsellor at the Embassy of Peru in Germany, where he is in charge of cooperation and cultural affairs. He is a senior lecturer in protocol at the Peruvian Diplomatic Academy Foundation (FADP) and is Deputy President of the Peruvian Association of Ceremonialists (APCER). In addition to Spanish, he speaks English and French and has intermediate knowledge of Portuguese and Italian.
Daniela was born in California, United States of America. At the age of seven she moved to Guatemala, where she studied international relations and she has worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala for more than ten years. She is currently serving as First Secretary and Consul at the Embassy of Guatemala in Germany, this being her first destination as a diplomat, which has been an enriching experience for her professional growth. In her free time, she enjoys travelling, watching movies and being with her family.
Simona Spinaru is a career diplomat and has been working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania since November 2003. She currently holds the diplomatic rank of Minister Plenipotentiary. Prior to becoming a diplomat, she was a university law teaching assistant. She graduated from the Law School of Iași ‘Alexandru Ioan Cuza’ University in 2000. During her diplomatic career, she has fulfilled multiple responsibilities at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the diplomatic service abroad, both in bilateral and multilateral fields. She has held various positions within the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, gaining expertise mainly in strategic and European affairs, international legal affairs and human rights. Her last managerial position was as director of the Romanian Diplomatic Institute, a three-year mandate that she finished in 2020. Her continuing education encapsulates various MA programmes and other specialised courses at SNSPA in Bucharest, the ‘Edmund A. Walsh’ School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University in Washington D.C., the Law School of University College of London, the Aspen Institute in Bucharest, the ENA in Paris, the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the European Law Institute in Florence, the Rhodes Academy of Oceans Law and Policy, the European Law Academy in Trier, the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, the UN Office in Geneva and the OSCE. In her spare time, she likes to play piano, as well as golf and tennis, and likes to go skating and skiing. She enjoys visiting the world’s museums and arts centres, but most of all she likes travelling with like-minded people to get a glimpse of our beautiful world.
Born in Mexico City, Zirahuén attained a BA in economics at the National University of Mexico and a doctoral degree in political science from the Freie Universität Berlin. His professional path includes the academic, think-tank and diplomatic fields in Mexico and Germany. As a scholar, Zirahuén’s academic interests are foreign policy analysis, international political economy and global governance, with a geographical emphasis on Mexico-Latin America and Germany-Europe. The perspectives of the Global South and the cooperation with transnational actors are significant interests in his work. As a person committed to progressive politics, Zirahuén is willing to engage in constructive dialogue with individuals and institutions from different backgrounds in order to learn from them and, based on an honest exchange of ideas and deep context understanding, to work together with them towards positive changes in organisations/societies.
I am a Croatian diplomat and EU affairs expert with 13 years of professional experience, including seven years in the Diplomatic Service of the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. Having spent my childhood in war-torn Croatia during the 1990s and witnessing the horrors of the war on a daily basis, I developed a life-long desire to enter the Croatian Diplomatic Service in order to create a more peaceful, prosperous and free Europe.
My experience in the Croatian Diplomatic Service consists of working for the DG for Europe on the General Affairs Council, the DG for Political Affairs and two diplomatic experiences that have significantly shaped my professional and personal outlook. Being an exchange diplomat in Vienna during the preparation and implementation of the Austrian EU Presidency in 2018 helped me to grasp political and social dynamics in Central Europe, including the unsurpassable strength of soft power, the Viennese music and art scene. Additionally, my experience at the Croatian Embassy in the Russian Federation, before being expelled as a persona non grata in June 2022 and witnessing the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine was another life-changing moment, observing the end of the European Belle Époque and the harsh return of geopolitics.
My previous engagements include working at Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, pursuing a European Commission traineeship in Brussels and academic work as a researcher at the Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO) in Croatia.
I am a curious and interesting person with proficient research, analytical and communication skills and the ability to translate them into conceptual policy work and project management. My strengths are my delivery-oriented mindset and abundant “can-do” attitude. I hold an MA from CEU Budapest (international relations and EU studies) and have been granted scholarships by DAAD, the Goethe-Institut, the Federal Foreign Office, the ENA in Paris and the Open Society Institute.
Tasnim is 28 years old and is based in Tunis, Tunisia. She graduated from the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Tunis in Anglo-American literature, civilisation and linguistics and earned a teacher training and research certificate from the same university. She also holds an MA in cross-cultural studies from the University of Carthage. Tasnim currently works as a freelance translator and an English teacher at the University of Tunis El Manar. She is also the Associate Director of the Islam & Liberty Network, a Malaysia-based academic think tank focused on economic freedom, religious freedom and political freedom in Muslim-majority countries and beyond. She represented the think tank in the Atlas Network Asia Liberty Forum in the Philippines and won the Asia Liberty Award in 2020. She was also a speaker at the Atlas Network Liberty Forum in New York in 2022, where she spoke about the Islam & Liberty Network Street Vendors project in Tunisia. She studied the condition of the street vendors after 10 years of the Tunisian Revolution sparked by this marginalised group.
As the then Liaison Academic Officer of the Munathara Initiative, Tasnim helped organise the first Tunisian legislative and presidential debates in 2019. She also served in polling stations in previous legislative, municipal and presidential Tunisian elections. Tasnim represented post-Revolution Tunisia through organising and participating in several peace and leadership programmes across the world, mainly with the Initiatives of Change Foundation. She was an intern in the Caux Peace and Leadership Programme in Switzerland, and a scholar in the Caux Scholars programme in India, specifically on conflict resolution and peacebuilding. She represented Tunisia in the OIC Youth Forum in 2021 in Istanbul, the KAICIID G20 Interfaith Fellows and in MasterPeace Tunisia. She is also an alumna of the Training for International Diplomats, having participated in seminars in Berlin in 2020 and 2022.
Monica Gavriluta has over seven years’ experience in diplomacy and currently works as a political adviser on climate policy to the Deputy Head of the United Nations Climate Change in Bonn. She specialises in strategic communications and intergovernmental negotiations on climate.
Prior to working for the United Nations, Monica worked for Romania’s consular mission in Bonn, where she coordinated the presidential and parliamentary elections, co-organised high-level diplomatic events and provided advice on legal and institutional matters to the Romanian community living in Germany.
Monica is passionate about diplomacy, the nexus between climate change, women rights and innovation/digitalisation and believes that technological advance can successfully tackle human inequalities and the climate emergency.
With an MA in public policy from Bucharest and Bonn Universities and a BA in communication and public relations, Monica is an alumna of the International Parliamentary Scholarship programme of the German Bundestag as well as the Training for International Diplomats programme of the Federal Foreign Office.
Claudia Loebbecke holds the Chair of Media and Technology Management at the University of Cologne. She is a Member of the Administrative Board of WDR, Europe’s second largest public broadcaster, and serves as external scientific adviser in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) project organised by Fraunhofer IAIS.
From 2016 to 2021, she was a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for Regulatory Issues of the Federal Network Agency for Electricity, Gas, Telecommunications, Post and Railway (Bundesnetzagentur); from 2012 to 2020, a board member of the Leibniz Information Centre for Economics; from 2011 to 2013, a member of the High Level Group (HLG) on Innovation Policy Management to the European Council, and from 2005 to 2006 elected President of the global Association for Information Systems (AIS), which named her AIS Fellow in 2012, and a Distinguished Member cum laude in 2019.
Previous posts include positions in academia and consulting with INSEAD (France), McKinsey & Co. (Germany), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Hong Kong/PRC), Erasmus University (Rotterdam, NL) and Copenhagen Business School (DK). Later research stays took her to the Sloan School/MIT (US), the University of New South Wales (Sydney, AUS) and the London School of Economics (UK).
She received an MA(1990) and a PhD (1995) in business administration, both from the University of Cologne, Germany, and an MBA from Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, USA (1991), the latter financially supported by a Fulbright Scholarship (1986/87) and a DAAD Scholarship (1990/91).
Her research and consulting focus on business models, management and regulation aspects in light of the innovative use of new media, information and telecommunication technologies, including artificial intelligence. She works in the contexts of launching and digitally transforming business models, organisational forms and trustworthy information infrastructure.
In her leisure time, she likes travelling, sports, playing cards and visiting exhibitions.
Michael Horn is KPMG Indonesia’s Head of Restructuring Services and Head of ESG Advisory. With more than 30 years’ experience across Asia-Pacific, Europe and the US, he has held leadership roles in advisory/consulting, project and municipal finance, legal and credit/risk. He leads KPMG’s efforts to grow ESG advisory engagement in Indonesia on strategy, measurement/reporting, decarbonisation transition and social diversity, equity and inclusion.
Michael served as ASPAC Managing Director of an AAA-rated infrastructure lender, international law firm partner and Chief Risk Officer of Indonesia Infrastructure Finance, a World Bank/ADB-owned infrastructure lender. As consultant, speaker, trainer and writer, he has advised Indonesia on PPP investment policy, conducted UNESCAP infrastructure procurement training for the Cambodian Government, addressed transportation/mobility investment at APEC Bali and infrastructure’s contribution to development at UNESCAP Bangkok, and published thought leadership on drinking water investment, rail connectivity and airport development.
His restructuring experience spans the COVID-19 downturn, the global financial crisis, the Asian financial crisis, Japan’s Lost Decade, the 2003 Korean securitisation collapse and the 2014-2016 oil and gas downturn. He has supported the turnaround of a national airline, an aquaculture company, a state-owned agriculture company and others. His infrastructure experience includes drinking water, roads/tunnels/bridges, airports, accommodation, renewable energy and government policy advisory and legislative drafting. Michael’s ESG Advisory experience includes modern slavery investigation in plantations, energy transition to early retire coal-fired power plants, supply-chain audit and first-time corporate ESG strategy.
Michael has worked in Asia-Pacific for a substantial part of his career, including 15 years in Indonesia, with postings in Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo and New York. He has led highly-regulated financial institutions in Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and the UK, and is experienced in governance, regulatory matters and investigations.
Michael is a graduate of Harvard Law School (1989) and Tufts University (1985) and a 1985-86 Fulbright Scholar (Modern German Historiography, Bonn).
Iris Teicher has twenty years of management and leadership experience in German higher education at the interface between science, administration and business. She holds a degree in administration and an MA in career counselling and organisational development (University of Heidelberg, Germany). In addition, she is an advanced scientific trainer, certified with a focus on the application of system-theoretically informed neuropsychology in learning and development.
Today she works as a systemic coach in career counselling and as a trainer for personnel and organisational development. She likes to inspire, shape and accompany change processes.
Iris Teicher offers extensive experience in personnel and organisational development and is part of development programmes for executives with future skills for leadership and management work in an increasingly complex world.
In projects, she promotes agile working methods and structures and accompanies processes of New Work / New Normal, digital transformation, innovation and learning cultures for different target groups.
Collegially led teams, modern stakeholder management and cooperation with various internal and external actors (also cross-functional teams) play an important role for organisations that see themselves as ecosystems. Supporting the stronger networking of society, science and business contributes to sustainable economic growth.
For Iris Teicher, effective leadership and efficient management are of great importance in managing the complex dynamics of transformation and change in organisations.
The question of how the role of HR is seen in the face of demographic and digital change and whether training and further education as well as organisational development are designed in a sustainable manner will have a significant impact on the competitiveness of organisations on the market.
She is an alumna of the 2016 Higher Education Expert Program of the German-American Fulbright Commission in Atlanta, USA.
Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Connecticut, where she conducts research in the Human-Computer Interaction Lab. She has published and presented her research in both communication and information science, working at the intersection of both fields. She also teaches courses and seminars on communication technology, computer-mediated communication and social media.
Her research focuses on the use and effects of using social media to share information. In recent years, this focus has turned primarily to understanding and mitigating misinformation online through experiments that test various literacy interventions and interface design features. She also has a line of research focusing on the use of social media in science communication, including a recently funded project on examining women in STEM on TikTok.
In 2021, she was a visiting Fulbright Research Fellow at the Universität Duisburg-Essen, in the Department of Computer Science and Applied Cognitive Science. There she launched a new line of research investigating algorithmic literacy of social media users in both the US and Germany; a collaboration that continues with her overseas research network.
In addition to the work within academia, she seizes opportunities to bring her work to the public, through public fora, podcast interviews, and community partnerships. She looks for connections across her work, such as the partnership she developed between her service learning social media course and the Connecticut Science Center.
Anne is originally from Stuttgart, Germany, but grew up mostly in the US, where she still resides. She travels between the countries frequently, as most of her family remains in Germany. This “third culture” experience is what draws her to the connections between nations and their people, and she is always looking to learn more perspectives and languages.
Gwyneth Bravo has global leadership experience in higher education and is a Global Network Assistant Professor of Music and Assistant Professor of Music at NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Steinhardt. She holds a PhD in historical musicology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and is a 2016 graduate of the University of Oxford Centre for Refugee Studies-International Summer Programme in Forced Migration.
Bravo’s research examines the relationship between music, politics and philosophy in 20th and 21st century European and global contexts, with a focus on nationalism, forced migration, conflict and gender. A Fulbright Scholar to Germany, Bravo worked with the research group Exilmusik at the University of Hamburg and is published in the book Lebenswege von Musikerinnen im Dritten Reich und im Exil – a volume examining the impact of National Socialism, forced migration and exile on European women musicians during the period 1933-1945.
Recent grants that Bravo has received that are focused on the establishing global cooperation and understanding through the arts and music include a NYU Office of the Provost Curricular Development Challenge Fund Award (Global Collaboration: Artistic Dialogue Across Borders, 2019-2020), an NYUAD Institute Workshop Grant (Translucent Borders: Dance and Music in Global Dialogue, 2019), and an NYUAD Institute Grant for a Peace Fellow-Lecture Series and Residency, 2019-2020.
At NYU and NYUAD, Bravo serves on numerous committees, including on the NYU-Prague Global Advisory Committee (2016-present), the Inclusion Equity and Action Committee (2019-present) and on the Peace Studies Faculty Curriculum Committee (2016-present), where she played a key role in establishing and developing the peace studies minor. As an outgrowth of her research, several of her courses explore music as a form of cultural diplomacy in international and global politics, as well as the role of the arts and music-based cultural diplomacy in supporting conflict zone mediation and peacebuilding.
Sebastian is a German diplomat at the Federal Foreign Office. Before going on parental leave, he served as Deputy Consul General in Chengdu/China, where he focused his work on organising media and cultural activities to promote human rights, German as a foreign language and the history of Germany in Southwest China. In previous postings, Sebastian managed the Foreign Office’s embassies, consulates and residences in Africa and oversaw the reconstruction of its embassy in Kabul/Afghanistan.
Prior to joining the Federal Foreign Office, Sebastian studied civil engineering and management at the Technical University of Darmstadt and won a Fulbright scholarship to complete a second MA in real estate development at the University of Maryland. Scholarships from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Foundation of German Business (sdw) allowed him to study abroad at Tongji University in Shanghai/China and at Bond University in Queensland/Australia. Sebastian is a member of the Tönissteiner Kreis and speaks fluent Mandarin.
Ahmad Miari is a business development manager and team lead based in Berlin, working in the SaaS industry. He is also a university lecturer giving negotiation courses. Ahmad is a native German, English and Arabic speaker who has lived over 7 years abroad in countries like the UK, Belgium, Spain, India, Japan, USA and Czechia.
Ahmad holds an MSc in international management and economics from the prestigious CEMS programme – The Global Alliance in Management Education. CEMS includes 34 academic institutions on every continent, nearly 70 corporate partners and eight social partners (NGOs) from around the globe. Ahmad studied at the London School of Economics, Prague University of Economics and Business, the University of St. Gallen and Keio University. As part of his studies, he successfully finished business projects with Nomura Securities and McKinsey & Company, leading to fast implementation all over Japan. Later in Prague, Ahmad was a strategy research assistant, preparing classes, papers and events as well as giving lectures to international students.
In his BA programme at the Berlin School of Economics and Law and Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, he studied international business and supply chain management. During this time, he did various internships with companies such as Bosch in Munich and Bangalore.
Besides his career, he is very interested in entrepreneurship, leadership and diplomacy. Ahmad was appointed by the US Embassy in Berlin as a delegate on two occasions. He was sent to the European Parliament in Brussels to contribute to the issue of employment and actively participated in the 5th Global Entrepreneurship Summit (Harnessing the Power of Technology for Innovation and Entrepreneurship) in Marrakech. Together with other Fulbright alumni, he is a founding member of the Transatlantic Diversity Association, strengthening the ties between marginalised cultural groups across the Atlantic.
Born on the border between the then Yugoslavia (now Slovenia) and Austria. Studied mechanical engineering in Maribor, Slovenia, worked for several companies in Slovenia (i.e. Gorenje) in the energy/logistic field, including the UK at BNL in the field of nuclear technology.
Employed by the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Slovenia since 1993, he has worked as a diplomat in Iran, Poland, Japan, China, Ireland (as the spouse of an Austrian diplomat), UAE, Croatia, the Republic of Korea and currently in the Russian Federation. While working on various missions, he gained considerable experience as a diplomat, from consular and economic affairs to the most demanding diplomatic matters, such as rescue missions (2010 – Fukushima, Japan), negotiations (2008 – China – Tibet) and global challenges.
Magdalena Rakovec currently works as a project manager at the Centre for European Perspective, a Slovenian governmental body that organises training courses, workshops, as well as conferences aimed at enhancing the European perspective. As she enjoys being active, she is currently working on several different projects. She is the project manager of the EUSAIR Communication Academy, a communication capacity-building programme for different stakeholders of EUSAIR (EU Strategy for the Adriatic-Ionian Region). She is also involved in the project “Strengthening societal resilience and countering foreign perpetrated disinformation in six Western Balkan countries” that brings together stakeholders working in the information environment in the Western Balkan countries at conferences. Besides that, she is also involved in the organisation and planning of the Bled Strategic Forum and Young Bled Strategic Forum.
Previously she worked as a project manager of the Bled Strategic Forum at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia. Prior to that, she studied international relations at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Ljubljana. During her studies, she was actively involved in the Model United Nations Club Slovenia, United Nations Youth Association of Slovenia and the organisation of the international youth conference Salient. She is finishing her MA thesis on the construction of the EU’s identity in relation to the enlargement process to the Western Balkans.
She loves living in Ljubljana, walking and cycling around the city, meeting up with friends and when possible she escapes to the mountains to go hiking.
Juš Javornik is an MA student of international relations at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences, and currently working as an analyst at Deloitte Consulting.
Before that, he completed his BA in international relations. During his studies, he was an active member of the Student Association of International Relations – Globallis, maintaining relations with partner organisations, such as the Slovene Association for International Relations and the Club of Former Slovene Ambassadors. Within Globallis, he was also among the founding members of the Group of Friendship and Cooperation with the Russian Federation, that was active until some time before the war in Ukraine.
His main academic focus is diplomacy. He is currently writing an MA thesis on the international community’s cultural sanctions against the Russian Federation as a response to the war in Ukraine, as well as co-writing a book on the sports diplomacy of non-state actors.
He has a variety of experience from both the public and the private sectors. These range from research for the report by the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy to the United Nations on Sustainable Development Goals and volunteering at the Bled Strategic Forum, to working with international clients and partners at a real estate agency and working as an analyst on public sector and sustainability projects at one of the largest global consulting firms.
Apart from his native Slovene, he speaks English, Russian and Serbo-Croatian, as well as some Portuguese and Spanish. His main hobbies are basketball, music, arts and travelling.
Jernej Grahor is working as a project manager with the Centre for European Perspective, a Slovenian-based foundation and think tank. CEP is working on domestic and international projects within four main pillars: strategic communication and resilience against disinformation; Slovenian international development cooperation and humanitarian aid implementation; peace and security sector; implementation of the Bled Strategic Forum international conference and transnational projects implementation (within the Danube Region – EUSDR).
Jernej has been working at CEP since 2018, cooperating on different project activities, most recently as coordinator of EUSDR Priority area 10 “Institutional capacity and cooperation” and as programme coordinator of the Young Bled Strategic Forum. Jernej completed his undergraduate course in European studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences in Ljubljana, and is finishing his MA degree in the same field. During his studies, Jernej cooperated in different volunteer groups (Slovenian Scouts) as a youth coordinator and students’ groups that focused on providing informal education and soft skills for students.
Jernej is active as a programme coordinator of the Young Bled Strategic Forum, a platform for capacity building and active participation of young leaders from all over the world, who cooperate in a Forum organised on an annual basis. The Young BSF develops its vision to create opportunities for the active participation of young leaders, together with decision-makers and all stakeholders within our society, in an open space where their ideas, creativity and knowledge are listened to and heard, as equal partners for change and creation.
He is fluent in Slovenian, English, Croatian, Serbian and Bosnian and has a passive knowledge of the Italian language and Slovene sign language (the language of the hearing impaired). In his free time, Jernej enjoys creativity in the kitchen, playing the electric guitar and viola, as well as travelling.
Emir Hasanovic is the Programmes Lead for the Strong Cities Network Western Balkans Hub at ISD, responsible for Young Cities and Strong Cities coordination in the region, research and analysis, communications, and expansion. He is a strategic communications professional and project manager with international experience in consultancy, government and the non-profit sector. He has worked for communications agencies in the Middle East and the US, primarily advising premier clients in government, environment, corporate social responsibility, human rights. Emir has also served as Special Adviser to the Deputy PM and Minister of Defence of North Macedonia for Communications and International Relations. He has also been Program Development Officer for the USAID/OTI North Macedonia Support Initiative. Emir is a graduate of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service and is fluent in Albanian, Macedonian, Bosnian and English, and he speaks conversational French.
Iryna Gumenchuk was born in Ukraine and studied Germanic philology and pedagogics at Kyiv National Linguistic University. After having finished her European Voluntary Service in 2015 at the Agapedia Foundation, she started her second MA in non-profit management and governance at Heidelberg University and became a scholarship holder of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. She completed internships at the German Parliament (International Parliament Scholarship – IPS) and at the International Office of the Baden-Württemberg State Ministry.
Since 2014, Iryna has been involved in the EU Strategy for the Danube Region promoting youth participation and youth empowerment. She worked as a project coordinator at the Agapedia Foundation, leading and developing a Danube Youth Network and was a director of the community centre in the city of Ostfildern. Together with Ukrainian friends, she co-founded an ABLE association in Germany supporting, informing and empowering Ukrainian women and young people who emigrated to Germany because of the Russian war against Ukraine. Iryna is currently working as a digital transformation consultant at Capgemini Invent Germany and continues building up the network of Ukrainians in the Danube Region within the Social NGO Network.
Ara Nazinyan is an experienced professional in a variety of development fields. His areas of expertise and
interest include housing and social development, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction,
governance and citizens’ diplomacy. Ara is the founder and CEO of the social housing foundation in
Armenia. He also supports UN organizations in developing sustainable and efficient disaster risk
management systems in Europe and Central Asia.
Previously, Ara led large grant-making and development programs in Armenia and Central Asia, focusing on
strengthening civil society and good governance, promoting track 2 diplomacy efforts between Armenia and
Turkey, in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Ara is a Vice Chair of the Urban Committee of the Housing Europe