Past Fellows

 2017

Julia Melanie Brandes

Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (University of Dundee) 

Berlin Fellowship

Julia Melanie Brandes is originally from Hanover and moved to Scotland after graduating high school in 2014. She is currently studying 2D- and 3D-Animation in Dundee. At her university, she is secretary for Amnesty International, a member of the Debating Society, and was co-manager of the University Big Band for two years. While in high school, she did an exchange year in Canada and first got involved with various human rights groups. After her return, she worked for the British Heart Foundation charity in London and won a prize in an acclaimed German history competition in 2013, after which her work – a book looking at the Holocaust through child eyewitnesses’ eyes – was published and is now being used at local schools. In her free time, Julia is an avid reader, artist, musician, and does boxing. After finishing her degree, she aims to work as a concept artist.

Eugenie Becker

University of Osnabrück

Warsaw Fellowship

Eugenie holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. In 2014, she completed her minor in International Relations and Communication and Design during her exchange semester at Bilkent University in Ankara. She is currently completing her graduate degree in International Migration and Intercultural Relations at the University of Osnabrück, where she also worked as a student assistant in the “Refugee Coordinator” department at her university. Eugenie is active in various projects on minority rights and anti-racism. She plans to pursue a career in social policy and intercultural relations, with a focus on immigration rights from a post-colonial perspective.

Sarah Bhatti

University of Osnabrück

Warsaw Fellowship

Sarah Bhatti graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from University of Applied Sciences in Jena, where she first gained experience in project management and since then especially appreciates collaboration in interdisciplinary teams. Her research focus lies in the interconnection of various social inequalities and therefore she puts emphasis on an intersectional perspective. Sarah aims for a critical analysis of asylum and immigration laws as well as the implementation of the Geneva Refugee Convention on national and European levels. She is pursuing a master’s in International Migration and Intercultural Studies at University of Osnabrück. As a member of the department student’s council and the academic commission, she advocates for her fellow student’s interests. She also spent a semester abroad at Corvinus University of Budapest. In her spare time, Sarah engages with the Exil Refugee Centre Osnabrück organization as part of the cultural and public relations team.

Alexander Busold

Hertie School of Governance

Berlin Fellowship

Alexander Busold grew up in Hamburg, Germany, and first studied Economics, Politics, and Sociology at Zeppelin University in Germany, during which he studied abroad in Argentina and India. In 2016, Alexander graduated with a master’s in Public Policy from the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, where he is also currently pursuing his Ph.D., researching the collaboration between public administration and civil society in the field of refugee aid in Germany. Outside of academia, he gained experience in consulting for different foundations and initiatives, such as the Ashoka Globalizer Program, where Alexander supported leading social entrepreneurs to scale their social impact. Now, Alexander is setting up a sponsorship program for refugees together with other fellows of the Avicenna Foundation, facilitating cultural exchange and supporting refugees in the process of integration. In his spare time, Alex enjoys backpacking around the globe and kayaking.

Carmen Glink Bujan

Free University of Berlin

Berlin Fellowship

Carmen Glink Buján was born in Osnabrück, Germany and moved to Berlin to study Social and Cultural Anthropology and Political Science at Free University of Berlin. She is a Hans-Böckler-Foundation scholar, and her research is focused on post-Marxist, postcolonial and feminist theory. She is currently finishing her master’s degree based on her own empirical fieldwork with Nigerian street sex workers in Barcelona. Carmen plans to start a Ph.D. and study "new racism" in Europe next year. Her scientific work is based on her anti-capitalist critique. In her future career she hopes to successfully connect academia and activism to support struggles against discrimination and oppression and to fight for global justice. In her spare time Carmen engages in different political initiatives, loves to dance and enjoys attending different cultural events.

Esra Karakaya

Humbolt University of Berlin

John Lewis Fellowship in Atlanta

Esra Karakaya is a music and media scientist, journalist, and grassroots activist. As a daughter of Turkish and Korean immigrants she has been involved in various minority communities in her hometown of Berlin for many years. Esra is a seeker and always on the lookout for the sound that makes her heart sway.

Rahel Melody Kroeker

Yale University and University of Konstanz

Detroit Fellowship

Rahel M. Kroeker holds a Master of Arts in International Development Economics from Yale University (’15) and a joint BA/MA English, Political Science and Economics degree from the University of Konstanz (’17). Growing up in Germany, she was connected to a vibrant international Mennonite church community, which is active in social justice and peace work. This community inspired her endeavor and passion to become an intercultural bridge builder. She has worked with refugees from the Middle East in Switzerland, volunteered as an English teacher in Tanzania and as an instructor in a program on peace, diversity, and intercultural understanding in Afghanistan. As a board member of the German development NGO Mennonitisches Hilfswerk e.V., she cooperated with Tanzanian project partners and co-founded a team which organizes workshops on sustainability and fair trade for German youth. Her long-term plans are to work in public policy consulting within holistic, heterodox economic development and peace-building approaches in post-war environments.

Linh Müller

Free University of Berlin

Copenhagen Fellowship

Originally from Hannover, Linh Müller is an undergraduate student of North American Studies at the Free University of Berlin. In her studies, she focuses on the fields of culture, sociology, and politics. Her main area of interest is the influence race and ethnicity exerts on identity formation. She hopes to further her knowledge at Middlebury College, Vermont, where she will spend the next year studying. Linh is currently an intern at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin. Linh studied abroad in the United States for one year during high school and became involved in the Diversity Council and several other clubs. After graduation, she participated in a yearlong voluntary service in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, working for the Goethe Institute. Linh regularly volunteers for her exchange organization and is a student mentor at her university. In her free time, she likes to read, cook, and watch ice hockey.

Iris Najjar

Free University of Berlin

Berlin Fellowship

When Iris Najjar started volunteering at a homeless shelter in Paris at the age of 16, she was struck by the distress she witnessed and felt the urge to help. This experience, combined with her passion for the natural sciences, inspired her to study medicine at the Charité Medical University in Berlin, where she graduated in 2016 with a doctorate degree in Cancer Therapeutics. Her participation in the World Health Summit in 2016 made her realize the importance of social determinants and equal health care access. She now hopes to deepen her expertise in public health while pursuing her medical residency in internal medicine. In her spare time, Iris learns Arabic and is actively involved in the medical students’ European working group on refugee rights and health.

Yasar Ohle

Bucerius Law School

Berlin Fellowship

Born in Berlin, Yaşar Ohle lived mostly there until he finished high school. In 11th grade he went to Adana, Turkey, for an intercultural exchange year. Afterwards, he studied law at Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, where he successfully finished his first legal state examination in spring 2017. He spent one term abroad at BILGI University in Istanbul. As a Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation scholar, he is deeply involved in the scholarship holders’ community. He is an active volunteer at AFS intercultural programs and took part in many seminars for young people going abroad on exchange years as a trainer. Besides that he is also involved in refugee solidarity actions in and around Hamburg. Next fall, he plans to study Legal Gender Studies at the SOAS University of London. Afterwards, Yaşar intends to complete his legal clerkship and earn his Ph.D. in Law, researching the interdependencies between law, gender, and power.

Atia Sadiq

Goethe University in Frankfurt Main

Berlin Fellowship

Atia Qader Sadiq is a graduate student at the Goethe University in Frankfurt Main studying International Relations, Peace and Conflict Studies with a special focus on Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. Atia is the daughter of members of a religiously persecuted Muslim minority in Pakistan who sought refuge in Europe in the 1980s. Born and raised in Germany, she seized her academic opportunities and was funded by a total of three academic foundations. Thanks to the first one, she could spend a year studying at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. Atia is a member of the think tank and dialogue board Junge Islamkonferenz (Youth Islam Conference), the German Muslims of All Backgrounds Association (M.A.H.D.I.-e.V.), and also fosters interreligious dialogue as the local representative for interreligious dialogue at her local Ahmadiyya Muslim community. She is fluent in German, Urdu, English, Punjabi, and Hindi, and has basic knowledge of Arabic and French.

Alia Schwelling

Maastricht University

Sarajevo Fellowship

Alia Schwelling graduated from Maastricht University with a B.A. in European Studies in 2016. Her research and political interests are primarily concerned with migration and asylum. Throughout her studies, Alia participated in a research project on refugees in Europe and completed an internship at the Centre for Political Beauty in Berlin. She coordinated a cultural festival and a student-teacher organization in Maastricht. After her studies she moved to Berlin, where she worked for a project that seeks to create spaces for intercultural exchange with refugee women, participated in the Refugee Law Clinic, and is currently working at a contact and consultation center for refugees and migrants called KuB. Alia plans to continue her studies with a master’s degree in Migration Studies or Human Rights this fall.

Gerlinde Theunissen

University of Kostanz

Copenhagen Fellowship

Raised in North Germany, Gerlinde Theunissen studies Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Konstanz and spent the last two semesters abroad at Leiden University. Besides her studies, she works as a campaigning assistant at the European-wide campaigning organization WeMove.EU, and organizes and sets up a food-sharing network in Leiden. She plans to write her thesis on human trafficking and migration in Europe, and would like to research and further study in the fields of good governance, transnational organized crime, nationalism, and gender equality. Before doing a master’s, she plans to spend a gap year working in South America or Eastern Europe. In her free time, she reads and writes, learns languages, volunteers in a charity shop, and goes outside for a swim, a run or to cycle.

David Werdermann

University of Freiburg

John Lewis Fellowship in Atlanta

After graduating from high school near Münster and volunteering as a human rights observer in the Philippines, David Werdermann studied law in Freiburg, Germany, focusing on public international and European law. He completed his studies in 2016 and is currently working as a research associate at the Institute for Staatswissenschaft and Philosophy of Law at the University of Freiburg, where he is teaching constitutional law. He is planning to write a Ph.D. thesis about the constitutional rights of immigrants. David is the author of various articles and a political activist focusing on fundamental rights, migration policy, and education. He is an active member of the “Work Group of Critical Lawyers” (Arbeitskreis kritischer Jurist*innen), an association of left-wing young lawyers, and the “Forum ‘Active against Exclusion’ Freiburg” (Freiburger Forum aktiv gegen Ausgrenzung), an organization supporting the Roma from the Western Balkans.

Mohamed Karam Yahya

Humboldt University

Berlin Fellowship

Mohamed Karam Yahya was born and raised in Damascus, before moving with his family to Amman. He started his academic career studying English at the Arab College in Amman. After graduating in 2011, he pursued a B.A. in Literature and Cultural Studies at Hashimite University in Zara City, Jordan. Beside his studies, he was an active member of the university theater, which qualified him to play in several international and professional theater festivals. In 2013, he graduated from HU in Jordan and started his work career at Actionaid ARI as a community mobilizer at the Zaatari refugee camp. He is currently pursuing a master’s in Political Science at Humboldt University of Berlin. He works for the European student union as a consultant and for Shared Studios (global communication project working in 40 countries around the globe). He is also an active volunteer for Jugend Rettet, Global Platform Actionaid.

 

2016

Sarah Ackermann

Technische Universität Dresden

John Lewis Fellowship of Atlanta

Sarah Ackermann finished her undergraduate studies in Political Science and Spanish Language and Culture in 2015. She is currently studying International Relations with a focus on international law and international politics in Dresden, Germany. While studying in the Northern Californian Bay Area (U.S.) as a visiting student in 2014/15, she engaged in a local Black Student Union. In Germany, she is currently working on building up a support network for refugees who want to start or continue to get a higher education degree. Sarah is also engaging in an empowerment project for migrants and students from non-academic backgrounds at university. Another focus of her academic and social interests are queer feminism, women's rights, racism and social injustice. After graduating from her current Masters, Sarah wants to pursue a special Masters of Law (LL.M) degree in Human Rights or get a Ph.D. in the interdisciplinary study of international politics and law.

Folashade Ajayi

Humbolt University Berlin

Copenhagen Fellowship

Folashade Ajayi was born and raised in Germany. She studies Social Science at Humboldt University Berlin and also spent one semester at Université Libre de Bruxelles. She specializes on identity politics and national belonging as well as antidiscrimination policies following an intersectional approach. She has been involved in the „Initiative of Black People in Germany“ in organizing the first European Network Meeting for People of African Descent and did internships at Germany’s Federal Antidiscrimination Agency and the European Network Against Racism. She works as a student research assistant at the department Diversity and Social Conflict of Humboldt University. Within the association Ufuq.de, she is giving workshops at schools in Berlin to talk with young people about belonging, religious diversity and discrimination. She is currently writing her Bachelor thesis on racism within anti-sexist discourses. Folashade plans to pursue a Master in Social Sciences.

Nabila Abdel Aziz

University of Oxford

Berlin Fellowship

Nabila Abdel Aziz spent the first 16 years of her life in Germany before moving to the United Kingdom to finish high school at the United World College of the Atlantic. After spending her gap year working for a women’s rights NGO in Yemen, Nabila started her studies in Arabic at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London before pursuing a Master’s in Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford. During her time at university, Nabila ran an interfaith dialogue society, was part of a student group supporting detained asylum-seekers and co-organized a campaign calling for a change to the Oxford curricula for it to reflect our post-colonial and multicultural present. Nabila is interested in intercultural-dialogue, the potential of the arts to bring about social change and in collecting stories that demonstrate the fragility of “self” and “other” distinctions.

Levke Jana Burfeind

Free University of Berlin 

Warsaw Fellowship

Levke Jana Burfeind was born and raised in Germany and is currently completing her Bachelor's Degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology and Communication Studies at the Free University of Berlin. She also spent two semesters abroad at McGill University in Montréal, Canada. During high school, she spent a year as an exchange student in Riobamba, Ecuador and after graduation, she volunteered for twelve months at the Mukisa Foundation in Kampala, Uganda. Levke engages as a member in the work of Amnesty International and actively supports Divest Movements at universities. At the moment, her interests lie at the intersection of Anthropology and Environmental Studies and she recently researched questions of nutrition, food security and sustainability. In her free time, Levke enjoys to travel and she appreciates encounters with different people and inspiring conversations.

Veza Clute-Simon

Free University of Berlin

Copenhagen Fellowship

Born in Freiburg, Veza Clute-Simon spent most of her secondary education at a boarding school in the Black Forrest. Today she studies political science at Freie Universität Berlin and has just returned from an exchange year at SciencesPo in Paris. Within her academic development, Veza focuses on feminist and gender studies, a passion she practically addresses through her work in a queer-feminist action group. In her research she has namely worked on a number of feminist theorists but also on issues belonging to migration studies such as a case study of the Nigerian diaspora in Berlin. Being a member of a neighborhood community, Veza meets with refugees in Berlin to support them and practice German. After travels to Israel, Morocco and Iran, she has a deepened expertise in the MENA region, especially the changing societal power relations. Veza plans to continue her academic career with a Master in sociocultural studies.

Slieman Halabi

Tel Aviv University

Berlin Fellowship

Slieman Halabi is a Palestinian citizen of Israel who was born and raised in the Galilee in Northern Israel. Slieman is a group facilitator for conflict groups. He graduated from the School of Peace in Nave Shalom/Wahat al Salam in Israel and has worked at different organizations offering dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis. Slieman studied Cognitive Psychology at Tel Aviv University. He works as a research associate at Jacobs University in Bremen and is a PhD candidate at the Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena. His research concerns acculturation, psycholinguistics, prejudice and intergroup relations. Slieman has lived in Berlin for the last two years and has been socially and politically active within the activities of the Salaam Schalom Initiative in Berlin, an initiative which stands for social justice and peaceful co-existence and solidarity in Berlin and beyond.

Christian Kabengele

University of Hohenheim

Berlin Fellowship

Christian Kabengele is a student of Business Administration and Economics at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart. He is a Black German activist and determined to advocate for the rights of the Black community in Germany. He has co-founded and is a member of multiple civil society organizations and leadership networks for Black people and people with migration background. Chris also extensively uses social media to contribute to the societal discourse on racism and discrimination. Via his Twitter account, @afrogermanrebel, he tries to connect with activists worldwide to share experiences and strategies of resistance. In his blog, afrogermanreport.com, Chris discusses topics of personal interest including racism, domestic and international politics, as well as human rights issues. His areas of research are sustainable development, business ethics as well as economic development. In the fall of 2016, Chris would like to pursue his studies as a Master candidate of Economics.

Barbara Orth

University of Oxford

Berlin Fellowship

Barbara Orth currently serves as an editor for the Oxford Monitor of Forced Migration magazine. Previously, she has worked as a peer mentor with refugee youth in the UK, as well as on international development projects in Lebanon, India, and Nepal. Barbara holds an MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies from the University of Oxford, where she focused on the politics of refugee resettlement in the United States. As an undergraduate in International Relations, Barbara has also spent study abroad terms in China and Japan. Her research interests include forced displacement in South Asia and the Middle East with a particular focus on gendered notions of innocence and the political economy of war. Barbara hopes to pursue doctoral research in line with these interests next year. In her spare time, Barbara enjoys debating politics over a good meal, or venturing out in the mountains.

Eric Otieno

University of Kassel

John Lewis Fellowship in Atlanta

Eric Otieno graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Sociology from Goethe University Frankfurt last year. He is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in Global Political Economy at the University of Kassel. Eric has been an active MUN Participant, having represented Cuba in the ECOSOC Plenary at last year’s National Model United Nations in New York City. In-between his Degree Programmes, Eric Interned at the Frankfurt based Development Policy Network and at the Bundestag where, inter alia, he researched on Human Trafficking within the Au-Pair system in Germany. Born and raised in Kenya, Eric is very passionate about Global Justice, Post-colonialism, Development Policy and Human Rights, and has been often invited to speak on the correlation between World Trade and the Migration Crisis since its peak in Germany in the summer of 2015. He is also a Fellow of the Africa Good Governance Network and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.

Nelly Yaa Pinkrah

Leuphana University Lueneburg 

Berlin Fellowship

Nelly Yaa Pinkrah is a prospective PhD student who recently gained her MA in the program Culture Arts and Media at Leuphana University, Lueneburg with a thesis on Seeing the Impenetrable – Édouard Glissants ‘Opacity’ in Light of Digital Cultures. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Ethnology, African Studies and Sociology from Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. From March 2013 until October 2014, she co-organized the annual conference of the German Society for Media Studies. Nelly does a wide range of editorial (articles, papers, books) and administrative work within the academic realm and is engaged in different social and political projects, among them the German antiracism initiative #SchauHin, and the Ghanaian German Women Association Berlin (GGWAB). Nelly’s areas of interest include digital media, technology, political thoughts and practices, black feminist theory, decoloniality, intellectual and cultural history.

Tim Robert Schleicher

Zeppelin University

Berlin Fellowship

The young European Tim Robert Schleicher was awarded Leader of Tomorrow, Pioneer of the Month, and is a scholar of the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation. He has designed and is responsible for the project Transcultural Caravan – a hub of global thinking on a new type of leadership and the capacity to cooperate as well as to define globally shared interests and values – of the LEIZ-Institute. Tim is cofounder of welt_raum, an NGO enabling encounters between refugees and citizens. Tim, an Arabic-speaking student, is blogging on grenzsprung.eu and has gathered research experience in a project on Corporate Responsibility for the German Ministry of Labor. Previously, he was working with KPMG in the field of the European banking regulation. Tim is majoring in Sociology, Politics & Economics at Zeppelin University and conducted a research semester at the IDC (Israel). His first publications are in press – one on interest and one on leadership. Tim likes dependencies.

Patrick Wielowiejski

Humboldt University Berlin

Berlin Fellowship

Patrick Wielowiejski, born to a German mother and a Polish father in 1989, studied Cultural Studies, Gender Studies and Linguistics in London, Berlin and Oslo. He is currently a PhD candidate in the department of European Ethnology at Humboldt University Berlin, researching gay-friendliness in the European far right. In both academia and activism, Patrick concerns himself with a queer movement beyond identity politics that acknowledges the interrelations between all kinds of social struggles. Recently, he helped to organize a solidarity campaign with Warsaw Pride (“Parada Równości”). Patrick has been active in different contexts, among them the Young Islam Conference in Germany and AFS Intercultural Programs.

Armin Wühle

Leibniz University Hanover

Sarajevo Fellowship

Armin Wühle grew up in a village near Munich. He studied Creative Writing and Journalism at the University of Hildesheim. Together with other activists, he initiated public art performances that demanded political asylum for whistleblowers or called for sea rescue programs in the Mediterranean. He works as a freelance journalist and writer. He was awarded with a literary scholarship by the Ingeborg-Bachmann-Prize in 2015. Currently he’s finishing his Master’s Degree at Leibniz University Hanover, being enrolled in an interdisciplinary course with emphasis on globalization, post-colonialism and migration. Alongside his studies, he works for a NGO that provides help for traumatized refugees. With his writing, he wants to contribute to a strong movement against inequality and human rights violations.