- Executive Board
- Regional Directors
- Impact Groups
Dr. Alexander Pyka is Co-Founder of IFAIR and programme coordinator for the Impact Group ”Fireside Chats Berlin”. He was a member of the executive Board until 2016.
Alexander works at the public international law division at the German Federal Foreign Office. He wrote his doctoral thesis about the international sanctions regime against Iran while working as personal adviser to a former head of government. Alexander studied Law at Bucerius Law School, Germany and Tel Aviv University, Israel, as a scholar of the German National Academic Foundation. In 2013, he was selected “Global Leader of Tomorrow” by the St. Gallen Symposium, “Top 99 under 33 Foreign Policy Leader” by the Diplomatic Courier in Washington D.C. and “Global Shaper” by the World Economic Forum, Davos. Alexander speaks German, English, French and Spanish.
Anna Schwertz-Weirich is regional director for “EU & Europe” and member of the LACalytics Impact Group.
Anna is currently working for a research center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she focuses on economic and social issues. At the same time, she is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Studies with a major in philosophy. Prior to this, Anna graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in International Business from Maastricht University, the Netherlands; and took part in an exchange programme with the University of Buenos Aires. She wrote her thesis on banking and corporate governance as part of the Maastricht Research Based Learning Programme; and studied in the Honours Programme, pursuing besides her regular studies additional courses in economics, sociology, philosophy and cultural studies. Anna speaks German, English, Spanish and French.
Annekathrin Ruhose is resonsible for press and public relations at IFAIR.
Annekathrin studied political science, communication science and American studies at the University of Augsburg and Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena. In parallel to her studies, she has been educated as a journalist at Institut zur Förderung publizistischen Nachwuchses (ifp) in Munich. She worked as an intern and freelancer, among others, at Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR), Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF), Reuters, Deutschlandradio Kultur, Thüringer Allgemeine and Augsburger Allgemeine. Most recently, she was assistant editor at ARD-Hauptstadtstudio and press officer for the Pirate Party at Berlin’s House of Representatives. Annekathrin speaks German, English, French and Spanish.
Anne Laible is regional director for “Latin America & Caribbean” and programme coordinator for LACalytics.
Anne follows a Bachelor in International Cultural and Business Studies at Passau University. Her thematic focus lies on Latin American culture and politics as well as development economics. Anne gained practical experience as a volunteer of the “weltwärts” programme in a primary school with a nutritional program in Peru and as intern at the German-Peruvian Cultural Institute (part of the Goethe Institute Peru) and the regional hub for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations Department of Safety and Security in Panama. Anne speaks German, English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Bianca Becca is programme assistant for LACalytics and is responsible for conference planning and organisation.
Bianca follows a dual Masters degree in European Affairs and Political Science at the Free University of Berlin and at Sciences Po Paris, France. She also holds a Bachelor in Politics from Queen Mary, University of London, UK. In her studies, she focuses on EU external relations, in particular with regards to gender equality in development policy. She gained work experience through internships in German and Italian think-tanks as well as at the German Embassy in Bogotá. Bianca speaks German, Italian, English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Carolina Magnet is programme assistant for LACalytics and is responsible for publications.
Carolina graduated in 2015 from Leiden University College in The Hague, Netherlands, with a major in Policy Science and a minor in International Development. She wrote her thesis on institutional distrust and corruption in Latin America and now focuses on areas such as capacity strengthening for empowerment, financial inclusion and gender equality, mainly in low-income urban contexts. She has previously interned at ECLAC in Santiago, Chile, and has recently done consultancy work for Innovations for Poverty Action and Vanderbilt University in Peru. She has aided with research, fieldwork coordination and report writing on projects linked to SME productivity, financial coaching and an SMS campaign to improve government resource management. Carolina likes to write in her free time and speaks Spanish, English, and French.
Christian Macht is responsible for IFAIR’s IT.
Christian is a high school teacher for German and English and works as a freelance web developer in his spare time. He graduated in 2013 with a degree in German and English at the University of Würzburg.
He is an active Trainer for NGOs working in the field of youth, thanks to years of experience in facilitating teams in international and culturally diverse contexts, for example working two years in Edinburgh at George-Heriot-School or as a member of the board of the European Youth Parliament. Christian speaks German, English and French.
David Schlutz is Co-Founder of IFAIR and programme associate in the Impact Group Trilateral Peace Talks and Forum Junger Russlandexperten.
David works as a consultant for Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Kigali, Rwanda. In summer 2015, he graduated from London School of Economics with a Master in Public Policy and from Hertie School of Governance Berlin with a Master of Public Administration. He wrote his dissertation in collaboration with the World Bank in the field of corruption prevention. Previously, he worked as a consultant for the GIZ’s Sustainable Economic Development Program in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. He holds a B.A. degree in European Studies from Otto-von-Guericke-University in Magdeburg, Germany, where he put his research focus on the post-Soviet space. As an undergraduate, he spent a semester abroad at the St. Petersburg State University’s Faculty for International Relations. He interned with the protocol division of “Netzwerk Quadriga”, with the division for Nuclear Disarmament at the German Federal Foreign Office and the Anticorruption and Integrity Program at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. David David speaks German, English, French and Russian.
Farsan Ghassim is programme coordinator for the Impact Group UN Parliament.
Farsan is currently pursuing a doctorate in International Relations at the University of Oxford. He previously obtained a Master’s degree in Global Affairs from Yale University and a Bachelor’s in Management from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Before his doctoral studies, Farsan worked at the European Parliament, the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, and the Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, as a Mercator Fellow for International Affairs. Before his Master’s in the US, he had worked for the management consulting firm Bain & Company for one and a half years. After finishing high school in Germany and working at a special needs school for one year as part of his community service, Farsan interned in different sectors, among others, at an investment bank in Colombia and at the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations in New York, where he worked both in the Security Council and the General Assembly. Farsan speaks German, Persian/Farsi, English, French, Spanish, and is currently learning Arabic.
Florian Winkler is co-director for “South & East Asia” and is programme partner in the Impact Group EU-ASEAN Perspectives.
Florian is a currently a project manager at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the German development agency, supporting the Development Policy Forum in Germany’s G20 presidency in 2017. Prior to his current position, he worked as a research assistant at the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) in Berlin, contributing to the think tank’s work on peace & security and rising powers & global governance. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Economics from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, where he focused on international relations and international political economy. During his studies, he spent a semester abroad at the National University of Singapore (NUS), where he also worked as a research assistant on international trade. Previously, Florian was an intern with GPPi and gained work experience at the German Mission to the United Nations in New York, the German Bundestag and the foreign affairs department of Germany’s federal press and information office. He grew up in Singapore, the United States and Germany and implemented social projects in Cambodia and India during high school. Florian speaks German, English and Spanish.
Hanna Pfeifer is Co-Founder of IFAIR as well as a co-initiator of the Impact Group ‘Common Rememberance, Future Relations’ and head organizer of the symposium ‘The idea of a World Parliament’. Until 2016, she was a member of the executive board (responsible for editing and members) as well as regional director for the Middle East and North Africa.
Hanna works as research associate in International Relations at the Helmut Schmidt University Hamburg. She holds a Master of Arts (2012) in Political Science, Philosophy and Mathematics from the University of Munich. She spent one year of her studies at Sciences Po Paris in the master’s programme Sécurité Internationale. She specialised in Middle Eastern politics, International Relations theories and political theory. From 2012-2016, she was a research associate at the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg and from 2011 to 2012, she worked as a research associate in the Rottendorf-Project “Global Solidarity” at the Munich School of Philosophy. Hanna was a doctoral fellow at the Orient Institute Beirut, Lebanon, and stayed in Sanaa, Yemen, as well as Aleppo and Damascus, Syria, for internships and language classes. She speaks German, English, French, Arabic and Spanish.
Hannah Elten is co-director for “South & East Asia” and is programme partner in the Impact Group EU-ASEAN Perspectives.
Hannah studied International Relations, Political Economy and Asian Studies in a dual degree between the Institut d’Études Politiques Paris and the University of Sydney since 2012. She has been active in the European Youth Parliament and, more recently, organized delegations from the University of Sydney to different Model United Nations Conferences. She was a Youth Ambassador for Oxfam Australia, aiming to get more young people involved with charity work. Hannah gained professional experience in the fields of Development and International Relations by working as an Intern at the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in Tunisia, as well as at the German Trade Office in Taipei and imug Consulting in Hannover. She is a scholarship holder of the Ev. Studienwerk Villigst and of the German Academic Exchange Service. Hannah speaks German, English, French and some Mandarin.
Joanna Klever is programme partner of the Impact Group LACalytics.
Joanna works at the German Federal Foreign Office’s Training for International Diplomats. She also currently pursues a Master’s degree in European Studies at the Free University, Humboldt University and Technical University of Berlin. She holds a Bachelor in Policy Science and International Development from Leiden University College in The Hague. Her academic focus lies on development, aid effectiveness, good governance and democratisation. She spent a year working in the Dominican Republic and conducted fieldwork in Ecuador. Joanna speaks German, Polish, English, Spanish and French.
Joana Westphal is director for “Middle East & North Africa” and member of the Impact Group “Common Remembrance, Future Relations”.
Joana graduated in 2016 with a degree in Arabic and International Relations from the University of St Andrews. One of her specialisations was the development and ideology of the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL). Besides her studies, she worked with the St Andrews Coexistence Initiative to foster interfaith dialogue and understanding through student events and conferences on the topics of politics, society and religion. She has interned with the Regional Office Gulf States of the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation in Amman, the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations in New York and the European Parliament in Brussels. Joana speaks German, English, French, Arabic and Spanish.
Johannes Klein is regional director for “Global Affairs”, programme partner of the Impact Group LACalytics and as executive board member Chief Editor for IFAIR’s Think Tank.
Johannes studies EU International Relations and Diplomacy at the College of Europe in Bruges/Belgium. He previously focused on European Affairs and International Relations at the Humboldt-University, Free University and Technical University in Berlin. He graduated from Rijksuniversiteit Groningen in International Relations and International Organization in 2014. During his Bachelor, he specialized in Development Studies as well as International and European Law. His strong regional interest in Latin America is the result of a semester abroad at the University of Sao Paulo and a one-year developmental internship in Ecuador within the context of the “weltwärts” program of the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development. In addition to interning with various international NGOs and think tanks he spent several months working for the German Federal Foreign Office, the European Union and the German Bundestag. Johannes speaks German, English, Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch.
Jonas Bedford-Strohm is programme partner in the Impact Group UN Parliament.
Jonas studied theology, philosophy and political theory at Heidelberg University, Stellenbosch University, and Yale Divinity School. He is the co-founder and communications director at the non-profit Wikwiheba and has worked on social media and communications with the Campaign for a UN Parliament at the Institute for Global Policy in New York. A member of the International Association of Religion Journalists and a published book author (Wer’s Glaubt, Wird Selig), Jonas has written on religion and culture, sustainable development, and international relations for various media outlets, most notably the German edition of the Huffington Post. He currently works on digital strategy and development for the Public Broadcasting Service in Munich
Katja Plambeck is a member of the Impact Group EU-ASEAN Perspectives.
Katja studied Political Science and French Philology at the Free University of Berlin and at Sciences Po Paris (Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris). Currently, she is in the second year of her Master’s degree in International Relations at the Humboldt-University, the Free University and at the University of Potsdam. In her studies, she focuses on the EU, ASEAN and on Southeast Asia. She has complemented her academic focal points by internships in Singapore and Jakarta. At the moment, she is completing a traineeship in the EU Mission to ASEAN in Jakarta. She has previously gained work experience as a student assistant with the ‘Training for International Diplomats” at the German Federal Foreign Office, as an intern in the German Bundestag and as an intern and later as a student assistant with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. Katja speaks English and French and has basic knowledge in Russian.
Dr Kilian Spandler is an executive board member and responsible for IFAIR’s members and diversity management.
Kilian completed his PhD in International Relations at the University of Tübingen in 2016. His thesis dealt with the development of regional institutions in Europe and Southeast Asia. From October 2015 to March 2016, he was a PhD completion grant fellow at the KFG “The Transformative Power of Europe” at the Free University Berlin. Kilian received his M.A. degree in Political Science, Sociology and Economy from the University of Würzburg in 2012. He spent a semester studying at the Université de Genève and the Geneva Graduate Institute and has conducted research on regionalism in various projects at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), the Freie Universität Berlin and in other research groups. Together with Lukas Rudolph and Steffen Murau, he founded IFAIR’s Impact Group “EU-ASEAN Perspectives”. Kilian speaks German, English, French and Indonesian.
Laura Scherer is co-director for “Eastern Europe & Eurasia” and member of the Impact Group “Common Remembrance, Future Relations”.
Laura works for the European Endowment for Democracy in Brussels. Until 2015, she studied an interdisciplinary Master’s programme at the Université de Genève and Université Libre de Bruxelles focusing on Russia, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Prior to this, she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Slavonic studies from the University of Vienna, after research stays in Lviv, Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod. She was a Blue Book Trainee in the Secretariat-General of the European Commission. Laura speaks German, English, French, Russian and Italian.
Leo Fried is project manager for the Impact Group LACalytics.
Leo follows a Master´s degree in EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies at the College of Europe in Bruges. He also holds a Master in Conflict Studies from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor in European Studies from Maastricht University. His main academic focus lies on EU external relations, post-conflict peace building, as well as Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR), particularly in the Colombian context. He gained work experience through a yearlong voluntary engagement in Argentina as well as internships in Sao Paulo and Brussels.
Lukas Rudolph is Co-Founder of IFAIR and as executive board member responsible for IFAIR’s finances.
Lukas is research associate and PhD candidate at the Department of Political Science of the University of Munich (LMU). In his dissertation, he works on questions of Comparative Political Economy, especially on the relationship between elections and institutions. He has a Master of Arts (2012) in Political Science, Intercultural Communication and Law and a Bachelor of Science in Economics. During his studies, he focused on questions of development and International Relations. He worked, amongst others, in development cooperation, science and consulting projects. Lukas speaks German, English, French and Bangla.
Malvin Oppold is programme coordinator for the Impact Groups Culture of Remembrance, Trilateral Peace Talks and Forum junger Russlandexperten.
Malvin is a PhD researcher at the Institute of Political Science of Universität Bern. In summer 2015, he completed his master’s degree in political science and Eastern European Studies at Universität Bern with a thesis on the political consequences of the Kosovan civil war. Previously, he graduated from Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg in European Studies with a focus on International Relations and Economics. During his stay at St. Petersburg State University, he developed a regional focus and prepared his bachelor thesis on the political economy of Russia-EU relations. Malvin has interned with the Cologne Institute for Economic Research and the German Council on Foreign Relations, for which he continued working as a consultant. Malvin speaks German, English, French and Russian.
Mattia Nelles is co-director for “Eastern Europe & Eurasia” and programme coordinator for the Impact Group “Foreign Policy Talks Berlin”.
Mattia studies towards an MA degree in political science at Freie Universität Berlin, with a focus on Eastern Europe. His studies took him to the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and to the German embassy in Kazakhstan. He holds a BA in political and administrative science from Zeppelin University Friedrichshafen, where he did exchanges to the University of California, Berkeley, and to Belarus State University in Minsk. Until recently, he was a research assistant at the Humboldt Institute for Internet & Society. Among others, he previously worked for the start-up iversity, the Körber Foundation, the office of former German president Richard von Weizsäcker as well as the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. Mattia speaks German, English, Russian and Italian.
Nelly Stratieva heads the Impact Group “EU-ASEAN Perspectives”.
Nelly is the executive editor of European law journals on competition, data protection and climate law at the Berlin/Brussels legal publisher Lexxion and has prior background in EU affairs, trade and sustainability consulting. Parallel to her work, she is starting a PhD in international economic and trade law with a focus on the ASEAN Economic Community. Nelly worked in Kuala Lumpur for three years in project management at the EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a consultancy firm. She has an LL.M in European Law and BA in European Studies, both from Maastricht University. She speaks English, Bulgarian, German and some basic Bahasa Melayu.
Sahra Rausch is member of the Impact Group “Common Remembrance, Future Relations”.
Sahra graduated in 2016 with a degree in political sciences from Free University of Berlin. She specialized in remembrance politics, post-colonialism, and feminist and queer studies. At the moment, she is preparing her PhD-proposal on emotions in post-colonial remembrance politics. Sahra studied a year at Institut d’Études Politiques in Lyon and another semester at Middle Eastern Technical University in Ankara. Besides her studies, she is working as a trainer in political youth education. She has interned with the Regional Office of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Cameroon, the Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI) in Düsseldorf and volunteered in a social project in Guatemala. Sahra speaks German, English, French, some Spanish and has basic knowledge in Turkish.
Sigfried Eisenmeier is programme assistant for LACalytics and is responsible for fundraising and logistics.
Sigfried is currently studying a Master of Philosophy in Development Studies at the University of Oxford. He is researching the social security and working conditions of Uber drivers in Mexico City. Prior to this, Sigfried completed a BA in Sociology, Politics and Economics at the Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen, and completed exchange semesters at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia, and at the University of Berkeley, USA. He gained practical experience with the International Cooperation Organization (GIZ) in Mexico, with Sistema B in Chile and as a “weltwärts” volunteer in Peru. He works on topics such as social policy, the future of work, on-demand work, vocational training, common resources and urban development. Sigfried speaks German, English, Spanish and French.
Steffen Murau is regional director for “EU & Europe”, programme coordinator for the Impact Group UN Parliament and as executive board member responsible for IFAIR’s Impact Groups.
Steffen is a PhD researcher in International Political Economy at City University London and a doctoral fellow at City Political Economy Research Centre (CITYPERC). In his PhD project, he analyzes how private money substitutes are created in the financial system and, in reaction to financial crises, have repeatedly been integrated into the public money supply. He is working as a teaching assistant at the Department of Political Science at City University London and the Department of Economics at University College London. In 2015, he spent five months as a visiting scholar at Columbia University, New York. Steffen graduated from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München in 2012 where he studied political science, economics, philosophy and international law. He interned at Deutsche Bundesbank and the German Institute for Security and International Affairs, and implemented a development project in Cameroon with a German NGO. Steffen speaks German, English, French and Arabic.
Theresa Lieb is regional director for “Latin America & Caribbean”, programme coordinator for the Impact Group LACalytics and as executive board member responsible for IFAIR’s staff development and human resources..
Theresa follows a research master in Environmental Change and Management at the University of Oxford. She graduated from Leiden University College in The Hague in 2015 with a major in International Development and a minor in Policy Science. Her thematic focus lies on sustainable food systems, particularly in cities and the context of international development. Theresa gained practical experience as a volunteer of the “weltwärts” Programme in a marine conservation project in Ecuador, as intern with the German Development Bank KfW and the German Development Service GIZ in Brazil in the fields of tropical forest conservation, renewable energy and energy efficiency and as project assistant for urban food policy for NAHhaft. Theresa speaks German, English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
Tom Reutemann coordinates the German-Russian student exchange series of the Impact Group “Memory as a tool of change”.
Tom is currently enrolled in the postgraduate Master program at the HU Berlin in European Studies. Before, he graduated from the University of Leipzig and MGIMO with a Masters in International Energy Economics and Business Administration. Meanwhile he worked in a major international consulting firm. He did his Bachelors in Business Administration at the FHDW Paderborn, and worked in the Banking-IT industry in Frankfurt/Main afterwards. He also did an internship at the German Federal Foreign Office and worked as a research student at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin). Tom speaks German, Russian and English.
Varsenik heads the project “Common Remembrance, Future Relations. Experiences from Armenia, France, Germany, Israel and Turkey“.
Varsenik completed her academic study in Linguistics and Intercultural Communication (Diploma) at the Bryussov University in Yerevan (Armenia) in 2008. Within the scope of the DAAD scholarship, she holds a Master of Arts (2015) in Political Science from Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg. Since 2009, Varsenik works as a trainer and coach in the program of the Theodor-Heuss-Kolleg. From 2012 to 2014 she was active as a member of the project advisory board of MitOst. In 2015, she gained political experience by working as an intern at the Bundestag, as well as at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF). Varsenik speaks German, English, Russian and Armenian.
Nice to meet you!
Here they are: Everyone actively involved in IFAIR. Regional directors head one of the regional areas in our Think Tank. You also find everyone who is currently part of our Impact Groups and the five members of our Executive Board. Most people have more than one role at the same time. Contact anyone you find here if you have something you want to ask or tell us!