- Executive Board
- Regional Directors
- Impact Groups
Vanessa Böttger is the IFAIR Regional Director for North America.
Vanessa is currently pursuing her master’s degree in North American Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin and the University of Copenhagen. Specialising in political science and economics, she gains extensive knowledge of the United States and Canada. Her academic interests further include global trade as well as the future of Sino-American and transatlantic relations.
Prior to this, Vanessa completed her bachelor’s degree in Economic Policy at the University of Applied Sciences Berlin. Additionally, she gained practical experience being an intern in international institutions. She worked with the Representative of German Industry and Trade (RGIT) in Washington, D.C. and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Berlin. Currently, Vanessa interns with the Singaporean-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (SGC) where she works in the trade promotion department.
Vanessa speaks German, English and French and has basic knowledge in Russian, Italian and Danish.
Carlotta Schilling is Regional Co-Director for Latin America & Caribbean.
Carlotta currently studies International Relations and Economics in her bachelor’s degree at the University of Erfurt and during an exchange semester at the Université Catholique de Lille, France. She works as a student assistant at the Institutional Economics and Economic Policy department and is involved in the student council of her faculty where she is responsible for public relations. Carlotta interned at the German Foreign Ministry in the Crisis Prevention, Stabilization and Post-Conflict Reconstruction unit with a focus on the MENA region, and at the Körber foundation where she gained further experience in project management related to her work for the EUSTORY network. Before Carlotta started studying, she worked as a “weltwärts” volunteer in a day-care center and with a mobile school for street children in Nicaragua, where she also taught German classes at a language academy. Carlotta speaks German, English, French and Spanish.
Charlotte Freihse is responsible for press and public relations at IFAIR.
Charlotte is currently in the second year of the master’s programme Peace and Conflict Studies at Otto-von-Guericke University with a focus on Digital Technologies in Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies and Economics from University of Cologne and studied one semester at Universidad de Cartagena in Colombia. Parallel to her studies, Charlotte has gained practical experience through working for the magazines Handelsblatt and Wirtschaftswoche, the department of communications at the German Chamber of Commerce in Madrid and the German public service broadcasters NDR and ARD. She has been a student consultant for international mobility at University of Magdeburg before she started working as a freelancer for the radio station NDR Info and NDR Kultur at Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) in Hamburg. Charlotte speaks German, English, Spanish and Italian.
Florian Schöler is an executive board member and responsible for IFAIR’s member management.
He currently works as a legal clerk in the diplomatic protocol division of the German parliament in Berlin. He has finished an LL.M. in international criminal law at the University of Amsterdam and Columbia Law School in New York. He spent most of his time studying for the German law diploma at Johannes Gutenberg-University in Mainz, from where he also worked for an international law firm in Frankfurt. He has previously spent a year studying in Glasgow and interned with both the German Foreign Office in Saigon as well as with a small law firm in Lima. He has been active in various NGOs for over a decade, providing manpower and later legal advice to political integration projects, legal counselling for refugees and private sea rescue. He spent some time teaching English in Colombia before he started studying. Florian speaks German, English, French and Spanish.
Gelila is Regional Director Sub-Saharan Africa.
Gelila is a dual master’s student at Sciences Po Paris and the London School of Economics studying International Security/International Relations. Before, she pursued her undergraduate degree at the University of Mannheim in Political Science and Sociology and spent a semester abroad at Sciences Po Paris in Reims. As a student, she gained practical experience as a research assistant at the Chair of Political Science IV (University of Mannheim) and as an intern at the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington D.C.. In a gap year, Gelila spent time interning at the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation in Abidjan/Côte d’Ivoire and at the German Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. Later, she worked as a visiting associate with the consulting company africon GmbH focusing on sales and project management. Gelila speaks German, English, Tigrinya, French and is learning Arabic.
Jessica Kininger is an executive board member and responsible for Website and Social Media.
Jessica studied Regional Studies Asia/Africa and Economics at the Humboldt University in Berlin and Kasetsart University in Bangkok. Her focus was on society and transformation in Southeast Asia. She conducted fieldwork in Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. She has worked in various foundations and NGOs in the field of communication and has experiences in project and event management as well as in public relations and online communication. She is currently studying Language and Communication at TU Berlin. Jessica speaks German, English, Thai, Lao and Spanish.
Julien Strandt is Regional Co-Director for EU & Europe.
Julien is currently enrolled in a triple master programme, studying International and European Governance as well as International Affairs. He spends his time between the University of Münster in Germany, Sciences Po Lille in France, and the European campus of the Johns Hopkins University in Italy. During his bachelor, also in Lille and Münster, he specialised in international security and defence matters, writing his thesis about the future of European defence. Julien has gained practical knowledge through internships with the Economic Council in Germany, the Centre for International Crisis and Conflict Studies in Belgium, and at the French Parliament. He speaks German, French, English, Italian, and is learning Russian.
Lance is Regional Co-Director for Eastern Europe to Central Asia.
Lance is a student of International Relations at the University of Tartu in Estonia. In Tartu he has a Russian regional specialization and works alongside Professors and PhD candidates in the De Facto States Research Unit. Before moving to Estonia, Lance studied economics and development at the University of Bayreuth in Germany. In his Bachelors, he completed two semesters abroad: in Yekaterinburg, Russia and Iași, Romania. He wrote his thesis on conflict resolution between Moldova and Transnistria He is especially interested in topics in civil society and geopolitics. Lance speaks English, German, Russian and is learning Romanian.
Lea is Co-Regional Director for Eastern Europe to Central Asia.
Lea is currently studying an Erasmus Mundus Double Master in European Politics and Society in Prague, Krakow and Leiden. She previously studied European Ethnology at the University of Frankfurt and spent one semester as a Hessen-Wisconsin scholar at the University of Wisconsin in the North of the USA. After internships at the U.S. consulate general in Frankfurt and an NGO in the USA, she supported multiple organizations with fundraising as an UN online volunteer. Aside from her work at IFAIR, Lea also helps organizing EU simulations in France and Bulgaria. Her interests lie in strengthening democracy and human rights, amplifying the voices of young people in politics and society as well as fostering international knowledge exchange. Lea speaks German, English, Spanish and a bit of Czech. She is also currently learning French and Russian.
Lena Apke is Regional Co-Director for Latin America & Caribbean.
Lena is currently working as an intern at the department of sales and foreign trade for the region Latin America for a German automobile company. Prior to this, she graduated with a Bachelor´s degree in International Cultural and Business Studies from the University Passau and studied as an exchange student for one semester in Guadalajara, Mexico. Lena gained practical experience as a volunteer of the German Red Cross in Bolivia and as intern at the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation Peru, the German Mexican Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Mexico-City and Germany Trade and Invest in Bonn. Lena speaks German, English, Spanish and learns Portuguese.
Nikita Goch is Regional Co-Director for Asia-Pacific.
Nikita currently studies Political Science and Law at the University of Munich. He gained practical experience as a volunteer of the German Red Cross at the Vietnamese-German University in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where he was mostly engaged in cultural education, as well as in simulation games of the Academy for Foreign Service and the Academy for Military Administration. Nikita speaks English, Spanish, French, Vietnamese, Russian and currently studies Chinese.
Robert Demendi is Regional Co-Director for EU & Europe.
Robert is currently pursuing a Masters in “International Relations – European Studies” at the Andrássy University Budapest. His thematic focus is on EU policies, Public Diplomacy and EU foreign and security policy. Robert’s other research interests include the mechanisms of cooperation and power relations between EU institutions and the influence of lobby groups on the European legislative process. In the course of his Master’s studies he was a trainee at the German Federal Foreign Office, in the Economic Department of the “Permanent Representation of the Federal Republic of Germany to the European Union” in Brussels. Prior to this, Robert completed a bachelor’s degree in “Energy and Resource Management” and specialized in European and German energy and climate policy. After completing his bachelor’s degree, he completed two internships in Brussels in the field of public affairs. Robert speaks German, English and has basic knowledge of Spanish.
Sari-Luisa is programme leader of the Impact Group EU-ASEAN Perspectives.
Sari-Luisa holds a Double Master’s Degree (2019) in Chinese Law and Comparative Law at Nanjing University and the University of Göttingen. Her thematic focus lies on international law and policy research, especially in the areas of human rights and migration policies as well as security policy and development policy issues in general. Sari-Luisa has gained practical experiences through several working positions within the UN in New York, the Delegation of the European Union to the OECD and UNESCO in Paris, the German Corporation for International Cooperation GmbH (GIZ), the Permanent Mission of Germany and the international Labour Organization in Geneva and various international law firms for example in Shanghai. Sari-Luisa speaks German, English, French, Finnish, Chinese and is learning Spanish.
Thai Linh is Regional Co-Director for Asia-Pacific.
Thai Linh holds a graduate degree in Development Economics from the Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. Her interest in international economics and political economy sparked her primary research on the financial markets and the US-China trade war. Prior to her graduate studies, she gained a wide range of professional experiences in both public and private sectors. Thai Linh’s undergraduate major was in international relations with a focus on the rise of China and Asia’s middle powers. She went on exchange at the Yonsei University in Seoul as part of her studies and hosted her own talk show in the form of internet radio broadcast on campus. Growing up in Hanoi, Seoul, and Berlin, Thai Linh speaks Vietnamese, English, German and Korean.
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!