The Global Perspectives Initiative was founded in Berlin by Dr Ingrid Hamm and Stephan Balzer. Today, the initiative’s team includes nine permanent employees, who dedicate their work to increase Germany’s international responsibility in global development cooperation. An advisory board supports the initiative since 2018. In 2021, the non-profit PHINEO AG became a majority shareholder in the Global Perspectives Initiative.
Stephan Balzer, Co-Founder of the Global Perspectives Initiative, has always been interested in new ideas and visions: for 15 years he has been leading the Berlin based idea and innovation agency red onion. In 2018, he also co-founded Boma Global, an international corporate learning network that is part of a new management curriculum for leadership, digital transformation and culture change, and heads the German branch Boma Germany. Previously, Stephan established the TEDx conference format in Germany and brought the Singularity University Summit to Berlin to advance the discourse on the challenges of digitalization and technological disruption.
Dr Ingrid Hamm
Dr Ingrid Hamm is Co-founder and CEO of the Global Perspectives Initiative. She is deeply involved in the international dialogue on global development. Dr Hamm has been working in major German foundations for three decades, including 15 years at the Bertelsmann Foundation. Most recently, from 2003 to 2015, she headed the Robert Bosch Foundation. In addition, Ingrid Hamm has served and continues to serve on German and international boards, including the University Council of the University of Tübingen, the General Assembly of the Goethe Institute, the Board of the European Forum Alpbach Foundation, and the Board of Trustees of the Karl Schlecht Foundation.
Dr Andreas M. Rickert
Dr Andreas M. Rickert is CEO and founder of the PHINEO gAG, as well as Co-CEO of Nixdorf Kapital. Previously, he worked for the Bertelsmann Stiftung as director of the Civil Society program. Andreas also worked as Senior Governance Specialist at the World Bank in Washington D.C. Prior to this he was Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company, Inc. globally working on public sector and healthcare projects. As Engagement Manager, he spent four years primarily in the public and healthcare sector. Dr Rickert is a member of various committees, such as the German Council for Sustainable Development, the European Commission’s Expert Advisory Committee on Social Entrepreneurship and the G7 initiated Task Force on Impact Investing. Als business angel he is invested in a successful portfolio of impact-companies.
Rhoda Berger works as Head of Operations and Senior Project Manager for the GPI program line Business as Part of the Solution. She holds a German-French Bachelor degree in International Management and a Master degree in Economics and Business Administration. Her passion for Africa and strong belief in the continent’s growth is mainly due to her Ethiopian origins and was fostered during longer stays in East Africa. Rhoda previously worked for the German-African Business Association and in the public sector department at Capgemini Invent.
Genesis Cleveland, LL.M. (UC Berkeley)
Genesis Cleveland works as Project Lead for GPI’s program line The Africa Roundtable. She studied law with parts of her training taking place in both Germany and the United States. Her interest in the African continent was sparked by a multi-year delegation from the German Foreign Office to Nigeria, where she worked in legal and consular affairs of the Consulate General in Lagos. For the next three years, Genesis worked as a project manager for the Friedrich Naumann Foundation’s Africa Regional Project in South Africa focusing on human rights, the promotion of democracy, and the rule of law.
Hannah Hölscher joined GPI as Project Manager for global health in January 2022. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and history and a postgraduate degree in international development and management. Her interest for global health stems from researching family planning practices in rural South Africa, whilst interning for a maternal health NGO. She previously worked at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute for Human Rights in Sweden, as a Carlo-Schmid Fellow in the Public Health Section of UNHCR in Switzerland and most recently with a BMZ project at the Friedrich-Naumann Foundation in Germany.
Sally Kadosh is responsible for Office Management as well as assisting with communications and events. She studied in the Netherlands, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in International Communication with an emphasis on intercultural communication and business communication. Sally has previously worked in the areas of Marketing, Project Management, and Tech and since joining GPI has found a role that allows her to combine her organizational skills with her passion for sustainability.
As Project Assistant at GPI, Cindy Okonkwo supports the program lines global health and Business. Cindy developed her interest in the challenges of sustainable development cooperation in the African context during her bachelor’s degree, when she became more closely involved with issues of environmental protection and economic development in the Global South. After graduating in philosophy and political science at Free University of Berlin, Cindy plans to start her master’s degree in “Asian/African Studies” at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in the fall of 2023.
For Judith Ramadan it is meaningful to contribute her experiences and skills to a working context, which demands and promotes humanity, respect and diversity. With a degree in Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Judith lived and worked in Germany, Uganda, Syria and Turkey. After three years of working with GIZ, she joined the GPI Team as project manager and is now team lead. After working mainly in the areas of Global Responsibility, Multilateralism and Migration, Judith has been Program Lead and responsible for HR since late 2019.
Anne Ries has been studying social sciences with a focus on political science at the University of Cologne since 2019. She is particularly interested in foreign policy topics such as international relations. As an FSJ student at GPI, she would like to gain practical work experience in political work, especially in development cooperation. In the future, she would like to pursue a master’s degree in political science.
Corinna Robertz leads the Digital Media and Communication efforts at the Global Perspectives Initiative. Her background is in journalism and as a multimedia editor working across the disciplines of text, audio and film. She studied Digital Media Technology in Germany, Romania and Lithuania and graduated from journalism school with a degree in Cross-Media Publishing. Her past professional experience includes positions with ZEIT Magazin, international festival for documentary film DOK Leipzig, FairPlanet, the non-profit news organization concerned with human rights Fairplanet and the global campaign organization ONE.
Nica Weidemeyer joined GPI as a part of The Africa Roundtable team. She holds bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and African Studies and recently finished her graduate studies in Peace and Security in Leipzig and Addis Ababa. Nica has previously worked in university research projects and at the German Africa Foundation and the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography where she contributed her enthusiasm for the intersection of science, advocacy and public discourse.
The Advisory Board
Amadou Diallo has been CEO of DHL Global Forwarding Middle East & Africa since June 2017. He is the founder of the DPDHL online platform Saloodo! GmbH.
Previously, Mr. Diallo was, among others, Executive Vice President Integrated Logistics and Value Added Services, CEO of DHL Freight, CEO of Africa and South Asia Pacific and CFO of DPDHL’s logistics business units.
Mr. Diallo is Chairman of the Board of Amref Germany, Member of the Executive Committee Welthungerhilfe as well as on the Board of Schiller Intern. University, Paris and Africa 2.0. Mr. Diallo is Senegalese and speaks several languages fluently: including English, German, French, Fulani, Wolof and Spanish.
Prof. Dr Dr h.c. Wolfgang Huber
Professor Dr Dr h.c. Wolfgang Huber is one of the most prominent theologians in Germany. Huber is a progressive thinker in ethical questions. He served as bishop of the Evangelical Church of Berlin-Brandenburg from 1994 until 2009. He was the Chairman of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) from 2003 until 2009. Today, he works as a publicist and theology professor at the Berlin Humboldt University in Heidelberg and in Stellenbosch (South Africa). He also holds numerous honorary offices. For example, he is chairman of the board of trustees of the Garrison Church foundation in Potsdam.
Diana Kinnert is a CDU politician and self-employed entrepreneur, consultant and publicist. Since 2016 she has been advising various actors in political processes, such as the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dr Gerd Müller. She also works for various research institutes and companies.
As a member of the CDU federal commission for the party reform “Meine CDU 2017”, she advocated for the modernisation of her political party. Her book “Für die Zukunft seh’ ich schwarz: Plädoyer für einen modernen Konservatismus” became a bestseller in the election year 2017. In addition, Kinnert regularly publishes political commentaries and columns.
ShEquity’s Founder/Managing Partner as well as AfriProspect GmbH’s Founder/CEO, Pauline Koelbl is gender-lens/impact investor and a leading innovation expert in developing & emerging economies with over 20 years’ experience in international affairs and venture philanthropy. Pauline Koelbl also has 11+ years’ experience catalyzing innovation and supporting SMES/startups across Africa. In 2022, Pauline Koelbl was recognized as one of 100 Leaders building Meaningful Business, combining profit and purpose to help achieve the UN Global Goals. She is also the co-founder of PROWAH (Professional Women of African Heritage). A double Fulbright – Scholar and Fellow -, Pauline Koelbl holds an Executive Education in Innovation for Economic Development from Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, a Master’s Degree in Poverty and Development from the Institute of Development Studies at University of Sussex, and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the University of Arizona.
Dr Wilhelm Krull
Dr Wilhelm Krull has been founding director of the New Institute in Hamburg since January 2020. Prior to this, he was Secretary General of the Volkswagen Foundation from 1996 to 2019. After studying German studies, philosophy, education and political science, he worked as DAAD lecturer at the University of Oxford as well as in leading positions at the Science Council and in the General Administration of the Max Planck Society. In addition to his professional activities in science policy and research funding, he has held and continues to hold numerous positions in national, foreign and international supervisory and advisory bodies. He has received numerous honors, including an Honorary Fellowship from St. Edmund Hall, University of Oxford, in November 2019. His most recent book publications are: “Krieg – von allen Seiten” (2013) and “Die vermessene Universität” (2017).
Dr Anja Langenbucher
Dr Anja Langenbucher is Director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s European Office. She manages the foundation’s policy, advocacy, government relations and communications activities in Europe. She has previously worked for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in a range of roles including managing the EBRD’s technical assistance program and as a transaction leader in the agribusiness team leading both debt and equity transactions. Anja also worked at the IFC / World Bank in Washington D.C. and for the European Commission in Brussels; she started her career at the Boston Consulting Group in Munich. Anja holds a Doctorate and Master’s Degree in Economics.
Dr Stefan Mair
Dr Stefan Mair is a renowned Africa expert, Director of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik SWP). He studied Political Sciences, Economics and Sociology at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. He held a scholarship from the ifo-Institute for Economic Research and was subsequently awarded his doctorate in Political Sciences. In the following years he worked as an advisor on Africa at the Foundation for Science and Politics (SWP), becoming head of the research group Africa and Middle East at the SWP in 1997. From 2002 to 2010 he was a member of the SWP’s institute management and also held the position of research director from 2007 to 2009. Until 30 September 2020 Dr Mair was a member of the Executive Board of the BDI.
Prof. Dr Dirk Messner
Prof. Dr Dirk Messner is president of the Federal Environment Agency and has been director of the Institute for Environment and Human Security of the United Nations University (UNU-EHS) until 2019. He has been co-director of the Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research of the Duisburg-Essen University since 2011. Messner was director of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) in Bonn from 2003–2018. Based on his research areas, he is engaged in high-level political advisory boards: since 2013 he is co-chairman of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) and co-chair of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Germany (SDSN) since 2014. He has been co-chair of the Science Platform Sustainability 2030 since 2017. From 2007–2017 he was a member of the China Council on Global Cooperation on Development and Environment (CCICED).
Since October 2020, Wolfgang Niedermark has been a member of the Executive Board of the Federation of German Industries (BDI) in Berlin. From 2006-2015 he served a Vice President at BASF, The Chemical Company, with main responsibilities for government relations as head of the BASF Berlin office. From 2016-2020, Wolfgang Niedermark was Member of the Board of the German Chamber of Commerce Abroad (AHK) Greater China in his capacity as Delegate of German Business in Hong Kong.
Dr Andreas M. Rickert
Dr Andreas M. Rickert is CEO and founder of the PHINEO gAG, as well as Co-CEO of Nixdorf Kapidal. Previously, he worked for the Bertelsmann Stiftung as director of the Civil Society program. Andreas also worked as Senior Governance Specialist at the World Bank in Washington D.C. Prior to this he was Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company, Inc. globally working on public sector and healthcare projects. As Engagement Manager, he spent four years primarily in the public and healthcare sector. Dr Rickert is a member of various committees, such as the German Council for Sustainable Development, the European Commission’s Expert Advisory Committee on Social Entrepreneurship and the G7 initiated Task Force on Impact Investing. Als business angel he is invested in a successful portfolio of impact-companies.
Michael Schwarz was appointed as CEO of Baden-Baden Entrepreneur Talks in 2022. Before, he was the Executive Director of Foundation Mercator and was responsible for the International Affairs Division. Since 2010 he has been responsible for International Affairs. He has worked in the foundations’ sector since 2005 when, after working for a time as a consultant at CNC, an international strategic communications consultancy, he took up a position at Robert Bosch Foundation. He studied public policy and political science in Germany and the US.