Our Authors

Hans-Jürgen Beerfeltz

Hans-Jürgen Beerfeltz was Germany's State Secretary of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development from 2009 to 2013. 


Giovanni Allegretti

Giovanni Allegretti is a senior researcher at the Centre for Social Studies of Coimbra University in Portugal.


Patricia Dorsher

Patricia Dorsher is a James E. Jernberg Public Service Fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, focusing on global policy and nonprofit management.Patricia was launch editor for Feedback Labs and previously worked on empowerment-based models with victims of domestic violence and in the Japanese government on issues of multiculturalism, diversity, and immigrant support.


Héctor Lozano Gonzáles

Héctor Lozano Gonzáles is a communications professor at the Peruvian Universidad Privada del Norte, a photographer and a visual artist. Furthermore, he was a writer and editor at the university magazine “Día Treinta”.

Héctor has set up three photography exhibitions and a collective performance at the 1rst International Gathering of Visual Arts in Toluca – Mexico, 2004. The exhibition “Antiestres” was shown at Daniel Rodríguez Hoyle Library of Universidad Privada del Norte in 2007, “Epidermis” was presented in 2011 at Impromptu gallery of El Culturaland in 2012 at Alliance Française of Trujillo, and “El cielo a medio hacer” was exhibited at the Azur gallery of Alliance Française of Trujillo, together with Emma Ebintra, in November of 2012.


Wenzel Michalski

Wenzel Michalski joined Human Rights Watch in September 2010 as the Germany Director, responsible for communications and advocacy.

Before joining Human Rights Watch, Michalski worked in journalism for more than 20 years, specializing in news and current affairs. He served as managing editor, presenter, and London bureau chief for ProSiebenSat1, one of Germany's leading broadcasters.

Prior to that, he was commissioning editor for documentaries at ARD/NDR public television. In his position, Michalski will work towards giving Germany a stronger voice in support of human rights. Michalski graduated from Hamburg University, where he studied history and politics.


Erica Gies

Erica Gies is a freelance environmental reporter who lives in San Francisco.

Her work appears in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, Wired News, Grist, World Watch magazine, KALW radio, and other outlets. In 10 years on the environment beat, Erica Gies has covered energy, water, climate policy, green business, green building and urban planning, waste, ecosystem biology, and more.

She holds a masters degree in literature from San Francisco State University and a Bachelor in English and journalism from Northern Arizona University.


Gerhard Vinnai

Gerhard Vinnai, born 1940 in Stuttgart, studied sociology and psychology in Frankfurt and was Professor of Analytical Social Psychology at the University of Bremen until 2005. His central interest is the connection between psychoanalysis and critical social theory and his work has focused on violence, religion, gender relations, the critique of knowledge, and psychoanalysis in education.

Books published include: Football Mania (1970), The Misery of Masculinity (1977), The Exile of Criticism in Science. Psychology in the Universities (1993), Jesus and Oedipus (1999), Hitler – Failure and Annihilation Mania - the genesis of the fascist perpetrator (2004), Fantasy Worlds and a Nexus of Victims: the analytical social psychology of Western culture (2011).


Thomas Fues

Thomas Fues is Head of Department “Training” at the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE). Previously he works as Senior Researcher at the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF) at University of Duisburg-Essen and at the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU). From 2001 – 2004 he was the One World Representative of the State of North Rhine Westphalia. After his work for the Parliamentary Caucus of the Green Party in the German Bundestag he worked several years as a free-lance consultant.


Jacqueline Ann Surin

Jacqueline Ann Surin is the co-founder and the editor of The Nut Graph in Malaysia. A journalist since 1994 first with The Star, then The Edge and theSun, she is also the author of Shape of a Pocket. She gained an M.A. in Media Studies at Sussex University in England as a Chevening scholar, and studied journalism in the United States under the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship. In 2007, she received the Excellence in Opinion Writing Award from the Society of Publishers in Asia for her Shape of a Pocket column which she continues to keep at The Nut Graph. She was also named by London-based Article 19 as the Pioneering Women’s Voices Candidate for Malaysia in commemoration of International Women’s Day in 2007. As of September 2010, Jacqueline is part of the collective of writers and editors who is maintaining The Nut Graph as a weekly.


Michelle Ruesch

Michelle Ruesch works as a project manager for Zebralog GmbH, a Germany-based agency for online and cross-media participation. She holds a B.A. from University College Maastricht and an M.Sc. in Politics and Communication from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Her special interest lies in the ways that dialogue can help promote social change and conflict resolution. She is both a political bottom-up activist and a strong proponent of more state-initiated open participatory spaces.


Oliver Märker

Oliver Märker is Managing Director at Zebralog GmbH, which consults with public agencies in the planning and realization of e-participatory procedures on local, regional, and federal level.

Oliver Märker studied geography, sociology, and psychology at the University of Bonn. He received a PhD from the University of Oldenburg in 2004 for his doctoral thesis: "Online-Mediation as an instrument for sustainable urban and regional planning".


Seember Nyager

Seember Nyager works as Chief Executive of the Public and Private Development Centre (www.procurementmonitor.org), a non-profit organization registered in Nigeria, whose activities are aimed at increasing citizens’ participation in governance in a way that improves the integrity of public and private sector processes. Seember oversees public procurement monitoring activities among civil society organizations and professional bodies across Nigeria. Seember has offered peer learning support to the Core operations unit of the World Bank Africa region in the formation of contract monitoring coalitions in other African countries and using her organization’s portal as case study, won the WBI and GIZ supported procurement innovation challenge. Seember is also one of 17 sprinters, convened by the World Bank Institute, to author and champion open contracting practices across the globe. Previously, Seember has been engaged as script writer and has assisted in the production of radio drama and magazine programs for aimed toward stimulating social change. Seember has a personal interest in actively contributing to the deployment and use of appropriate ICT tools that stimulate and support decentralized media; thus, increasing the space for individuals to participate in governance at various levels and is devoted to working in spheres that promote the values of democracy


Andy Yee

Andy Yee is a policy analyst for Google in Asia Pacific, and a former researcher at the Political Section of the European Union Delegation to China in Beijing.


Bibi Bleekemolen

Bibi Bleekemolen does research and outreach at Fairphone. She joined Faiphone in 2011, to look for fairly mined cobalt in DR Congo, as her master’s thesis was about conflict minerals.


Emma Furniss

Emma Furniss is business relations manager at Fairphone. Before joining Fairphone, she initiated her own small-scale entrepreneurial projects with positive social impact.

Emma studied business in London and has worked in process management and optimisation for a multinational production company.


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.


Eric Engel

In international cooperation since 2001 Erik Engel's work has focused on food security and natural resource management. He oversaw microfinance projects and cash based interventions in Tajikistan and Uganda and guided teams of consultants for SLE in participatory strategy development and assessments. With a master in Geography and Anthropology from Berlin he currently studies Environmental Management in London.


Linda Engel

Linda Engel studied Political Science and attended afterwards the Centre for Rural Development (SLE) at the Humboldt University in Berlin. She was one of six team members to conduct the study for the KfW. Linda has just started working for the German development cooperation GIZ in Dar es Salaam.


Tithe Farhana

Tithe Farhana is a journalist from Bangladesh. She has written for the Global South Development Magazine, the New Agriculturist, Guardian Development Blog and Next Women from the UK, for the Indian magazine Agriculture today, and for the Thomas Reuters Foundation from the US. She is also a content writer for Matio o Manus, an agriculture programme from the BTV national TV station.

Tithe has been working as communications coordinator at Plan Bangladesh, the regional office of Plan International, and communication consultant at the International Rice Research Institute.


Kristie Wang

Kristie Wang is a writer and has been a content producer and media mobilizer at Ashoka Changemakers since 2010. She blogs about health, the environment, social finance, and the world’s food systems. Her work has appeared via The Rockefeller Foundation. Kristie is also a Pushcart Prize-nominated fiction writer and is at work on a novel.

More on changemakers.com


Alastaire Sèna Alinsato

Alastaire Sèna Alinsato works at the Faculty of Economics and Management at the Université d’Abomey-Calavi in Benin and is an assistant researcher at the Economic Analysis Unit of the President of the Republic of Benin.

Furthermore, Alastaire is Special Adviser to Fulbert Gero Amoussouga, head of the Economic Analysis Unit and a member of the UN’s High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. He’s a member of several research networks such as the African Economic Research Consortium and has published articles on development in Africa.


Volker Kitz

Volker Kitz studied law in Cologne and New York and is an active member of the bar. For years he worked as a successful lobbyist for companies in the media. Many current laws are based in part on his influence. Today he lives in Munich as an author and teaches the art of persuasion.


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.


Lena Guesnet

Lena Guesnet is a a researcher at BICC (Bonn International Center for Conversion). Her research focus is on the link between natural resources and conflict. She has conducted case studies on the influence of natural resources on violent conflict in several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Chad. She also conducts research on how good resource governance can prevent conflicts surrounding natural resources. Lena Guesnet holds a Diploma (MA-equivalent) from Marburg University in Political Science, Law, Peace and Conflict Studies.


Shamil Shams

Shamil Shams works for Deutsche Welle’s Urdu and Asian English services in Bonn, Germany. He has worked for Pakistan's leading English newspaper The News, and has contributed articles for Dawn, Newsline and other Pakistani magazines and newspapers.

Originally from Karachi, Shamil has worked with various non-governmental development organisations in Islamabad including the policy research think-tank, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).

He holds a Master of Science in Media and Communications from London School of Economics (LSE) and an MA in English Literature from Karachi University.


Gloria Ortega Pérez

Gloria Ortage Pérez is a journalist from Bogotá, Colombia


Fady Salah

Fady Salah is an Egyptian political analyst and independent journalist based in Cairo. He holds a bachelor’s in Political Science, and he is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Euro-Mediterranean Studies. Fady writes for several international think tanks, including The Atlantic Council and Bertelsmann Stiftung's Future Challenges. He is also Egypt's Political Analyst at The Atlantic Post and the head of Feature Editorials section at Ideaneurs magazine.


Emmanuel Kwesi Aning

Emmanuel Kwesi Aning is the Provost and Academic Vice President for all academic programs at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), Accra, Ghana, and a clinical professor in International Conflict Management at Kennesaw State University. He is currently a member of the World Economic Forum's Council on Conflict Resolution. Among his other international roles, he served as the African Union’s first Expert on counter-terrorism, peace and security.

Kwesi has written numerous book chapters, monographs and articles in many international peer reviewed journals.

Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre


Lydia Mawuenya Amedzrator

Lydia Mawuenya Amedzrator is a researcher at the Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research, Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, Ghana. She holds a Master of Arts Degree in Conflict, Peace and Security. Her research interest is on emerging security issues.

Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre


Jago Russell

Jago has been the Chief Executive of Fair Trials International since September 2008. Before joining Fair Trials, he worked as a policy specialist at the human rights charity (Liberty) and worked as a Legal Specialist in the UK Parliament, assisting the Human Rights, Home Affairs and Constitutional Affairs Select Committees. Jago is a qualified solicitor and has published and lectured widely on a range of criminal justice and human rights issues.


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.


Jochim Selzer

Jochim Selzer was born 1969 in Kiel. He got his first Personal Computer in 1983 – years before he passed his A-Levels in 1988. He got in touch with Internet, Usenet and Mailboxes for the first time in 1989. He holds a diploma in mathematics and works in the IT-Department of a logistics company in Bonn, Germany.

Jochim Selzer works as a Data Protection Officer at the protestant church. Since March 2013 he is among the co-organizers of many CryptoParties, which were held in several cities.


Anirudh Narla

Anirudh Narla is a tech startup enthusiast who did his bachelors in Computer Engineering and Entrepreneurship in Singapore and is currently helping Entrepreneurs in Ghana build their billion-dollar company. During his free time he is seeking out new adventures, travelling and trying his hands at photography.


Daniel Stauffacher

Daniel Stauffacher holds a Master degree in International Economic Affairs from Columbia University, New York and a Ph.D. in law from the University of Zürich.

He worked for the district court of Zurich and the Swiss private sector before joining the United Nations in 1982 to work in New York, Laos and China. In 1990 he joined the Swiss Ministry of Economy responsible for international economic and financial cooperation. In 1995 he was posted to the Swiss Mission to the European Union in Brussels as the Counsellor for Economic and Financial Affairs.

In 1999, he became an Ambassador of Switzerland to the United Nations in Geneva and the Special Representative of the Swiss Government for the hosting of the World Summit on Social Development 2000 in Geneva and the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) in 2003 in Geneva and the Swiss Ambassador to WSIS in Tunis 2005. He was a member of the former UN ICT Task Force and the former UN Task Force on Financial Mechanisms for ICT4D.

Daniel Stauffacher is Founder and Chairman of the ICT4Peace Foundation, Special Advisor to the UN Chief Information Technology Officer (CITO), the Undersecretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, New York, President of the Geneva Security Forum, Member of the Board of Directors, World Wide Web Foundation, and Senior Advisor, The Gulf Research Center Foundation, Geneva.

Co-authors of this article are Barbara Weekes and Sanjana Hattotuwa


Camino Kavangh

Camino Kavanagh is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at the Department of War Studies at King's College London. Her research is centred on transformation in strategic affairs, with a specific focus on how cyberspace has evolved into a domain of strategic competition between states and she engages in different initiatives and projects on this subject.

Camino is also a Senior Fellow at NYU's Centre on International Cooperation and currently serving as an advisor to the Kofi Annan Foundation on the evolution of organized crime and drug trafficking in West Africa. She has worked with United Nations peace operations in Guatemala and Burundi and other international organizations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America & the Caribbean.

She holds a master's in Contemporary War Studies and a master's in Human Rights Law.


Shirazuddin Siddiqi

Shirazuddin Siddiqi is the Country Director in Afghanistan with BBC Media Action. He is a former lecturer at Kabul University and fled to Pakistan in 1994, where he joined BBC Afghan Education Projects and was responsible for many projects including the long-running radio soap opera in Dari and Pashto, “New Home, New Life”. As Afghanistan's Country Director, he launched the TV debate show Open Jirga in Autumn 2012.