Our Authors

Gudrun Kopp

Gudrun Kopp was Germany’s Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development from 2009 to 2013. 


Laura Cwiertnia

Laura Cwiertnia works as a freelance journalist mainly for the German weekly DIE ZEIT and ZEIT Campus. She is Head of the Economics, Society and Politics Department at Matices – Zeitschrift zu Lateinamerika, Spanien und Portugal (Magazine on Latin America, Spain and Portugal). Laura holds a degree in Regional Studies on Latin America from the University of Köln.


Olga Kisselmann

Olga Kisselmann is an intern at Digital Development Debates and is currently studying Sociology and Development Studies at the University of Bonn.

She holds a BA in Oriental and Asian Studies from the University of Bonn and was a DAAD fellow at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, China.

Olga worked as freelance translator, interpreter and contributor for the New York based lifestyle and culture magazine Jing Daily.


Frank Domhan

Frank creates and organises cultural events, amongst them exhibitions and festivals on behalf of the German Federal Cultural Foundation and the Goethe Institut. He studied journalism, dramatics and psychology in Berlin and Rome, contributed to several human sciences research projects and worked as a journalist. His TV-feature "Tombstones fabricated by children's hands" (arte) has been nominated for the Prix Europa and awarded with the Kindernothilfe's media prize.


Alexander Pfeuffer

Alexander works as a filmmaker (e.g. "The Bereaved", which premiered at the Max-Ophüls-Award Festival in 2010), as a writer of teleplays ("Polizieruf 110") and as a screenwriting lecturer in Berlin.

He studied dramatic writing, screenwriting and film production in Berlin and Los Angeles. He wrote theatre plays (e.g. "Vermisst", presented, inter alia, at the "Dramafest" theater festival, Mexico) and screenplays (e.g. "Was nützt die Liebe in Gedanken", winner of, inter alia, the European Film Award, the Award of German Film Critics and many more).


Eva-Maria Verfürth

Eva-Maria Verfürth is a freelance journalist and PR-consultant who specialises in development cooperation. She worked as a freelance editor of Digital Development Debates from 2011 to 2013.

Previously, Eva-Maria worked in the communications department of InWEnt - Capacity Building International, Germany, and was editor in chief of matices, a German magazine on Latin America.

Eva-Maria holds a masters degree in Latin American Studies from University of Köln.


Kate Müser

Kate Müser, 33, produces and hosts DW's weekly youth radio magazine, Pulse, and oversees DW's English-language culture website. Originally from northern California, Kate Müser studied Piano Performance at Indiana University Bloomington and Modern European Studies at Columbia University in New York City. She has made Bonn her home for the past 10 years and joined DW's editoral staff in 2006.


Morrigan McCarthy

Morrigan McCarthy is a documentary photographer and writer currently circumnavigating the world to document the daily lives of twenty-somethings. She studied English Literature at Conneticut College in New London, Connecticut and Documentary Photography at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine and is a Fellow of the Maine Arts Commission in Visual Arts.

You can see more of Morrigan's work at www.morriganmccarthy.com


Alan Winslow

Alan is a photographer and educator currently circumnavigating the world to document the lives of twenty-somethings. He holds a BA in Environmental Studies and Photography from New York State University.


Ben Herson

Ben Herson is the founder and creative director of Nomadic Wax – a fair trade music, film and events production company. Ben is also an educator with ten years of classroom experience in public and private schools and lectures regularly at institutions of higher learning.

In 2006, Ben co-founded the Trinity International Hip-Hop festival, the first international hip-hop festival in the United States, and began touring to colleges and universities throughout the United States. In 2007, he developed an award-winning seven part documentary series on youth, hip-hop, and politics in West Africa titled "African Underground: Democracy in Dakar", which was screened at film festivals and theatres internationally.

Ben is also a consultant and media producer for clients that include MTV, USAID, US Department of State and the Institute for Private Investors. He produces and hosts a bi-monthly radio show on New York public radio (WNYE) featuring urban music and political discourse from around the world and has produced and hosted shows for WBAI (NYC) and KEXP (Seattle).

Ben holds a B.A. in African Studies and Anthropology from Hampshire College and did post baccalaureate studies in Wolof (a West African language) at Columbia University.


Frauke Meyn

Frauke Meyn is Programs Manager at Skateistan, a German NGO seated in Berlin. Before, she worked for Skateistan in Kambodia and Afghanistan.

Frauke Meyn holds a degree in Sport Science and has a broad expertise in Experiential Education.


Chansopheakna Rath

24-year old Chansopheakna from Cambodia is a skate, breakdance and DJ instructor at Skateistan Cambodia. Before joining Skateistan, he worked as a breakdance teacher at the organization Pour Un Sourire D'Enfant (PSE). He likes working with kids, and especially wants them to enjoy skateboarding as much as he does.

Pheakna has been involved in skateboarding since 2011 through PSE, and graduated from PSE with a major in construction in 2012. He says, "I think that skateboarding is the new sport in Cambodia, and when I skate, my stresses are released".

Write him at: rath@skateistan.org


Alix Buck

23-year old Alix grew up in Ontario, Canada. She arrived in Cambodia in August of 2012 as a six-month volunteer, and is now Programs Officer.

She holds an undergraduate degree in International Development with a focus on environmental issues from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. She has worked with children of all ages in a variety of sports, and has been lucky enough to travel extensively in Canada, the US, and throughout Latin America. Alix has been skateboarding since 2006.

Alix can be contacted at: alix@skateistan.org


Sonja Peteranderl

Sonja Peteranderl is a freelance journalist who reports from abroad on politics, the economy and digital trends for print and online media such as Spiegel Online, the Tagesspiegel and the Freitag weekly. She studied in Berlin and Munich, graduated from the Deutsche Journalistenschule (DJS), and was awarded a scholarship as part of the Deutsche Studienstiftung and Dr Alexander and Rita Besser Stiftung's foreign correspondent programme.

Together with journalist Julia Jaroschewski, also a foreign correspondent programme scholarship recipient, she has been following developments in the Brazilian favelas in the run-up to the 2014 World Cup with the BuzzingCities multimedia project since 2011. In 2013 they moved to the Rocinha favela in Rio de Janeiro to blog from the favela live. Together they are also investigating the influence of the internet on the slums.


Stefan Sirtl

Stefan Sirtl is completing his Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Freiburg in Germany. In 2011 he travelled through Central American with a good friend and a red armchair. In 2013 Stefan will bike through Southeast Asia.


Maren Zeidler

Maren Zeidler is an editor at Digital Development Debates web magazine, and lived in Turkey for eleven years. She studied political science, history and cultural anthropology at Albert Ludwig University in Freiburg, Germany and development studies at the Institute of Development Studies in Brighton, Great Britain. Maren has worked for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH since 2010.


Papa Ansoumana Diatta

Papa Ansoumana Diatta is a development worker from Senegal. He currently works for the Italian non-governmental organisation Comunità Promozione e Sviluppo (CPS) as an administrator and accountant. He's a local assistant supervisor at CHYAO project – "Struggling against vulnerability of children and youth in Senegal."

Papa has been involved in different development projects on vulnerability of minors and forced child labour, supported by the Senegalese government, UNICEF and the World Bank.

Papa Ansoumana holds a master's degree in business administration with a focus on finance and accountability.


Lisa Ma

Lisa Ma is a speculative designer and researcher. She specialises in combining the fringe, ethnographic research process and public perception to produce unusual platforms of engagement. She is most recently a global shaper for the World Economic Forum.

She founded the 'Fringe Benefits' projects to convert design methods into surprising services to broaden our perspective on a future involving the fringes. These appear as spa therapies in cat ladies' homes, doorstep water filtration sessions by conspiracy theorists and historical village tours for stranded passengers by Heathrow activists.

For the "Farmification" project, Lisa Ma stayed in a joystick factory in Shenzhen, China and dived into the intimate lives of migrant workers. After observing how the vertiginous waves of production renewal have pushed the workers to the fringes, she created a part-time farming scheme where the migrant community combine farming with manufacturing to act as a buffer between innovation cycles.

Lisa holds a master's in Design Interactions from the Royal College of Art, London. She has worked as a designer in London at Conran and Pentagram and Berlin at Deutsche Telekom, and collaborated to produce and present TEDLive in Edinburgh.


Jonathan Pfahl

Jonathan Pfahl is a 31-year old entrepreneur and MD of Rockstar Group & Rockstar Youth.


Chelsey Baker

Chelsey Baker is a mentor at Rockstar Youth. She's a leading UK entrepreneur, business mentor and media expert. Furthermore, she's the author of "The Pocket Mentor" and the creator of "Broadcasting Your Business", a pitch, press and publicity programme.


Ross Murphy

Ross Murphy, 23, is a Rockstar Youth mentee. He launched the first ever Green Deal comparison business:



Hannes Bickel

Hannes Bickel holds a masterʹs degree in Political Science and is a skilled photographer. He completed the FIFA‐CIES Programme in Sports Management in 2010. Since 2005 Hannes has worked in the field of development through sport and gained experience through various projects linked to the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

After his thesis on the integrative role of sport in the South African transformation process, he joined the GIZ's Youth Development through Football (YDF) project early in 2008. Until April 2011 Hannes was responsible for the development of regional YDF activities in South Africa and throughout nine African countries and the project's networking activities.

After joining the Business Unit Private Sector Cooperation at the GIZ's headquarters, Hannes currently works as an advisor to the BMZ in the newly formed Sector Programme on 'Sport for Development'.


Alice Kohn

Alice is a freelance journalist and translator. She is an editor of Matices – Zeitschrift zu Lateinamerika, Spanien und Portugal (Magazine on Latin America, Spain and Portugal) and worked for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz as well as the newsportal on Latin America, amerika21.

Alice studies Economics at the University of Cologne.


Michael Szymanski

Michael Szymanski is the Director of Business Development for the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology's (MEST) Incubator and manages the MEST seed fund in Accra, Ghana. MEST offers a three-phase entrepreneurial program designed to foster the growth of globally successful software companies from Africa. Since 2008 MEST has trained over 100 tech entrepreneurs and has invested over .5 million in 13 tech start-ups in Accra. MEST companies have raised external capital, competed in top tech events such as TechCrunch Disrupt, Demo, and the Launch Festival, and have gained admittance to top accelerator programs such as HealthXL and 500 Startups.

For more than six years, Michael has focused his career in emerging markets, working to grow early stage companies, attract investment, and catalyse economic development. He earned an MBA from the University of Oxford and a BA from St. Norbert College.


Juliana Wina Redu

Juliana works in the marketing department of the non-governmental Bali WISE Foundation. Bali WISE provides free education, job skills and employment opportunities to women and girls in need.

Before joining WISE, Juliana has worked for several tourism companies, mainly for Abacus Distribution Systems Indonesia.

Juliana is also a novelist who has has published more than 50 books, mainly novels, kid stories and antalogies in English and Indonesian.


Maike Fiedler

Maike is an intern in marketing, fundraising and event management at Bali WISE.

Maike holds a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Sciences and Hispanistics from University of Bremen. She has working experience in both Ecuador and Germany.


Ahmad Masour

Ahmad Masour is a psychologist, community coach and author. He was born in Tira, an Arab village near Tel Aviv, Israel.

Ahmad has been living in Germany for eight years now. He works as coach and mentor for the "Heroes" project in Berlin and as a researcher at "ASTIU – Arbeitsstelle Islamismus und Ultranationalismus" (Working group on Islamism and Ultranationalism). Ahmad is a member of the "Deutsche Islam Konferenz" (German Islam Conference) and a consultant for the European Foundation for Democracy. He specialises in topics such as integration, radicalisation, racism, anti-Semitism and pedagogy for migrant families.

In Israel, Ahmad has worked for several youth projects promoting peaceful relations between Jews and Arabs. Ahmad studied psychology, sociology and philosophy at University of Tel Aviv and clinical psychology at the Humboldt University Berlin as a Goethe Institute fellow.


Lakshmi Sundaram

Lakshmi is Global Coordinator of Girls Not Brides, a global partnership of more than 270 non-governmental organisations across 50 countries committed to ending child marriage.


Kyra Sell

Kyra Sell is chief editor of Matices – Zeitschrift zu Lateinamerika, Spanien und Portugal (Magazine on Latin America, Spain and Portugal).

She studied Regional Studies on Latin America at University of Köln. Beside her engagement with Matices, she works as a freelance journalist.


Miquel Dewever-Plana

Miquel became a photographer in the 1990s and is a member of Agence VU'. His first photo-stories, on Maya Indian communities, were shot in Guatemala, a country he has been traveling for over 15 years.

Next, he turned to documenting the consequences of the 36-year Guatemalan Civil War. He camped with the guerrillas, shared the refugees' daily life, and recorded testimony from the families of victims of the genocide carried out by Guatemalan Army regulars.

Since 2007, Miquel Dewever-Plana has been photographing the endemic violence plaguing Guatemala, the gang wars and widespread corruption. He met Alma in 2008, and was inspired to help her make a confession.


Isabelle Fougère

Isabelle has been working as a journalist and author since 1991. Her stories on human rights, women, migrants, and economic development are regularly published in both the French press and abroad (Géo, Marie-France, Figaro Magazine, Grazia, VSD, Photo Magazine, etc.).

Between 2001 and 2002, she co-directed "Euroland," a series of documentaries about Europe for Italian television. Two years later, she published Odyssée Moderne, voyage aver les migrants clandestine, du Sahara à la Grande Bleue (Editions Images En Manœuvres), the story of her crossing the Sahara with African migrants bound for Europe.

Isabelle also writes books for children, and founded an international photojournalism prize 12 years ago, at the Perpignan Visa pour l'Image Festival. Three years before publishing the documentary, she began working with Miquel on recording Alma's story.


Grace Arach

Grace Arach is the founder of the FOWAC Foundation for Women Affected by Conflicts and has worked several years for the Caritas in Gulu, Palabek, in Northern Uganda, taking responsibility for over 800 war affected and highly traumatized children. During an assault of the LRA, Grace was herself abducted, but quickly released.

Grace was born in Kitgum, Uganda, and holds a degree in Social Work. She is currently doing a master's on International Development at the University of South Wales in Australia. Afterwards, she will return to Uganda and continue her work.


Robin Poulton

Robin Poulton is consultant for the EPES Mandala team and for other organisations with expertise in the broad field of Security Sector Reform. Together with Ibrahim Bangura he studied at Fourah Bay College in Freetown, Sierra Leone; they were students in the same place, but in different centuries.


Ibrahim Bangura

Ibrahim Bangura is consultant for the EPES Mandala team and for other organisations with expertise in the broad field of Security Sector Reform. Together with Robin Poulton he studied at Fourah Bay College in Freetown, Sierra Leone; they were students in the same place, but in different centuries.


Susanne Nickel

Susanne Nickel works as a freelance journalist and for the Deutsche Welle in Bonn. She is responsible for online editing and press and public relations as part of the preparations for the Global Media Forum. Since 2006 she has run her own journalist agency (sun media. agency for media communication).

Susanne Nickel has also worked for a number of radio stations, government administrations and institutions in the German state of North Rhine–Westphalia, and the federal government in Berlin. The sun media agency offers a range of services including website development, print media design of all kinds, and concept development for public relations. Susanne Nickel specializes in the environmental sector with a focus on sustainable development in particular.