The Initiative is supported by an Advisory Board, which is made up of renowned personalities from international relations and foreign affairs. The members of the Board support IFAIR’s work both with regard to content and methods.
Dr Wolf-Ruthart Born is a German diplomat. He most recentrly served as Undersecretary of State for Europe, political relations and the United Nations between 2009 and 2011. After studying law and history in Saarbrucken, Germany, and at Amherst College, USA, he studied at the Bologna Center of the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University. He is Lieutenant Colonel of the reserve.
After postings in Sudan and Buenos Aires, Dr Born was responsible for bilateral relations to all Western European countries including Turkey. He headed the negotiations for the Schengen-Agreement at the Federal Chancellery. Later, he represented Germany as ambassador to Mexico, Turkey and Spain.
Prof Dr Tanja A. Börzel is professor of political science and holds the chair for European Integration at the Otto-Suhr-Institut for Political Science, Freie Universität Berlin.
She received her PhD from the European University Institute in Florence, Italy in 1999. From 1999 to 2004, she conducted her research and taught at the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in Bonn, the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the University Heidelberg. Her research focus and teaching experience lie in the field of institutional theory and Governance, European Integration, and Comparative Politics with a focus on Europe. She mainly concentrates on questions of governance and institutional change as a result of Europeanization as well as on the diffusion of European ideas and policies within and outside of the EU. Since 2009 she has been leading the Kolleg-Forschergruppe (KFG) “The Transformative Power of Europe” together with Prof. Dr. Thomas Risse and she is project coordinator of the FP-7 research project “Maximizing the Enlargement Capacity of the European Union”.
Michael Knoll is head of political issues of the Association of Berlin merchants and industrialists (VBKI).
From 2006 to 2018, he was director of the Berlin offices of the non-profit Hertie Foundation. There, he focused on Europe, participation and governance as well as education and integration. Between 2002 and 2005, he was research consultant for international and European politics in the office of Joschka Fischer. Michael Knoll studied history and sociology at the University of Konstanz and attended the postgraduate course “Interdisziplinäre Frankreichstudien“ at the University of Freiburg.
Dr Thomas Gambke is Chair of the ‘Grüner Wirtschaftsdialog e.V.’, a platform for discussions and development of change projects bringing together business and politics.
After graduating in physics and years of work as a scientific researcher at Technische Universität Darmstadt and the University of California San Diego, Dr Gambke went into industry. First he worked as a technology consultant at VDI-Technologiezentrum Berlin, later he held various executive positions at SCHOTT technology group in Mainz, Landshut, Singapore, Japan and the US. Since 2007, he is a self-employed entrepreneur with Lithoglas GmbH, Dresden. Dr Thomas Gambke was a member of German parliament for the Green Party from 2009 until 2017. He was Chair of the GARTRE (German ASEAN Round Table on renewable Energies) and the German – ASEAN Parliamentarian Friendship Group.
Dr Rainald Steck is a former ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany.
He studied Romance philology, history and political science at the University of Tübingen and received his doctorate in 1973. In 1972, he joined the German diplomatic service. From 1985 to 1992, he worked, among others, as Deputy Permanent Representative of the German ambassador to Zambia and Sudan, head of the section for foreign affairs at the Federal University of Applied Administrative Sciences, head of training for the higher intermediate Foreign Service as well as head of division at the Bremen Chancellery. Between 1992 and 2006, he had been appointed ambassador to Togo, Senegal and Afghanistan. From 2006 to 2012, he was Head of Protocol in Berlin.
Helga Maria Schmid is Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) in Brussels and was patron of IFAIR’s EU-ASEAN Perspectives Dialogue III in 2016.
Before assuming her role as Secretary General of the EEAS in 2016, Helga Maria Schmid was Deputy Secretary General for Political Affairs at EEAS from 2011 until 2017 and Director of the Policy Planning and Early Warning Unit of the High Representative for the CFSP in the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union from 2006 until 2010. At the national level, Helga Maria Schmid has held various positions in the German Foreign Service, including as Head of the Political Staff of the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin and Head of the Minister’s Office (2003-2005), as Political Adviser to Foreign Ministers Joschka Fischer (1998-2000) and Klaus Kinkel (1994-1998) and as Press and Public Affairs officer at the German Embassy of Washington D.C. (1991-1994). Helga Maria Schmid holds an MA in English and Romance languages, literature, history and politics from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and Sorbonne University in Paris.
Agnieszka Walter-Drop is the Director-General for Logistics and Interpretation for Conferences in the European Parliament.
Previously, she was Director for Committees in the Directorate-General for External Policies of the Union in the Secretariat of the European Parliament (2011-2014). Before coming to Brussels, she was a diplomat in the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Deputy Chief of mission in the Polish Embassy in Berlin since 2010), director in the Department of Western and Northern Europe at the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Warsaw (2009-2010), as Counsellor of the Polish Embassy in Berlin dealing with foreign policy and EU affairs (2003-2009). Before she was dealing with Poland’s accession negotiations to the EU (Deputy Director in the Department of European Union and Accession Negotiations at the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2002-2003)), Director and Chief of staff of the Chief Negotiator (1998-2001). From 1993-98, she was the Cultural Attaché in the Polish Embassy in Brussels. She has started her professional carrier in an NGO Centre for Political Thought (1992-1993). Mrs Walter-Drop graduated from the Jagiellonian University of Cracow.