Meet the Team

In the spirit of COLLABORATION and INTERNATIONAL DIVERSITY  the MOOC Team is made up of GIZ staff, international thought leaders and alumni of previous leadership programmes. These change makers, from all over the world, are dedicated to support you, learn from you and guid you through our collective Leadership Journey.

We will  champion the roles found below, but welcome flexibility and adaptibility of these roles throughout the MOOC process.

Core Facilitation Team


Brigitta Villaronga

Brigitta is heading the Leadership Development Unit at GIZ's Academy for International Cooperation (AIZ), based in Bonn. She loves working in networks in order to share and to co-create knowledge and meaningful experiences. She is specialized in coaching and organizational development, has worked for several years as Head of Regional Office for the Andean Countries as well as in the area of Rural Development of former InWEnt. As a passionate leader she believes in the possibility of a sustainable future. Her mission is to encourage others to dare to go on a joint journey of transformation and inspire with creativity!


 Susanna Albrecht

Susanna is working in the Leadership Development Unit of GIZ, too. One of her main objectives is the virtual collaboration work of the group, as this MOOC and the Leadership Network She has a 5 years experience in International Cooperation with projects on issues of leadership development, good (urban) governance and regional Integration worldwide. Her personal regional foci concentrated so far on South East Asia and Africa. Susanna is your main contact person for the MOOC. She is looking forward to get to know you, to join the Leadership Journey and support wherever she can.


Raisa Cole

Raisa Cole is currently completing a double degree Masters Program in International Cooperation and Urban Planning (Mundus Urbano) at the Technical University of Darmstadt and the University Pierre Mendes-France. Her professional experience includes policy work and analysis at the World Food Programme, African Union, Solidaridad Southern Africa and the African Institute for Community Driven Development. She is qualified in the application of the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach and Community Based Planning. Her Bachelor of Social Science degree was completed at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Her areas of specialization and experience include policy analysis, especially in the fields of climate change adaptation, sustainable development and community organization. Before enrolling in the Mundus Urbano Porgramme, Raisa worked as a policy assistant for the African Risk Capacity, a treaty based organization providing sovereign disaster risk solutions for African Union Member States. She is currently employed as intern at the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and is part of the Climate Leadership alumni of the organization.


Klaus Althoff

heads “Climate Leadership Plus – Leadership for Global Responsibility” (CL+), a leadership development scheme of the Leadership Development Unit. CL+ is directed at leaders worldwide from public administration, business and civil society dealing with transformational challenges. Klaus is a convinced networker and transformation doer. Klaus has a long track record in International Cooperation with Human Capacity Development projects on issues of good governance and regional integration in East Africa, Southern Africa and (Southern) East Europe.


Heike Pratsch

Heike Pratsch is working as Senior Program Manager in the Leadership Development Unit. She has long term experience in the field of international cooperation, in particular with regard to private sector development, social integration, education and training and leadership development. She has cooperated many years with Latin American countries, South Eastern Europe and with Asia, in particular Indonesia. Her current motivation goes into the direction of supporting learning processes and creating enabling environments for cooperation, innovation and transformation in the context of the leadership development programs of the AIZ.


Karen Schmidt

The purpose of Karen's work is to help people make a difference through how they lead, manage, and design their projects or processes. With 15 years of management and consulting experience in different sectors, her journey has integrated new ways of leading and facilitating, agile management, design thinking, and applied improvisation. Her passion is connecting different worlds to find out what works in a specific context.

She is a co-founder of Becota, a team and trusted network of experienced and highly-qualified consultants, coaches, process facilitators and business school professors. Becota was established as a collaboration lab principle of work, based on a belief in connecting diverse groups of people to co-create thriving solutions. Living in Berlin, Germany, Karen's workplace is Europe – and wherever she has colleagues around the world.


Wiebke Herding

Wiebke Herding is a communications consultant, helping world-changing organizations communicate better since 1998. A former head of communications for IUCN Europe and the ISEAL Alliance, she’s devoted most of her life to managing strategic communications for complex sustainability challenges between globalized markets and a finite planet.

As a Certified Professional Facilitator, she excels at designing processes that get things done – together. As a marketer, she asks powerful questions that help you express what your organization is really about – and inspire others to join you. As a computer scientist, she selects and configures technology that supports your mission – with ease. Wiebke considers herself a nomadic European and is currently based in the Netherlands.


Alice Skokowski  

Alice is currently joining the Leadership Development Unit as intern and is a Junior Trainer for Gordon Training in Mexico (training for effective communication). She is in charge of the PR for Gordon Training Mexico. Alice holds a Master’s Degree in World Heritage Management from the Brandenburg University of Technology (BTU)  and a Bachelor in Comparative Religious Sciences, Cultural Studies and Intercultural Communication from the University of Bayreuth in Germany . She is currently graduating from an advanced training as International Project Coordinator with focus on Development Cooperation. 


Christian F. Freisleben

Christian F. Freisleben lives and works in Linz in Austria. He is a freelancing teacher, trainer, counsel - mainly in the fields of (adult) education, health care, social welfare. He is a passionate improviser and uses / teaches principles and tools of applied improvisation. Another important topic in his work is how to work with / how to use Web 2.0-tools in various fields. In the Leadership MOOC, he is a "Video-Angel", helping if necessary in finding and realising ideas for short Videos. He will accompany MOOC-playgrounds and generally helps to keep the MOOC going.


Regional Facilitators

The role of Regional Facilitators is to support you in your Leadership Journey, to coordinate online as well as offline meetups and to create safe spaces for learning and sharing. Many of the Regional Facilitator have been through Leadership Journeys themselves and will be able to share their experience with you. They consist of change makers from around the world- Africa, Asia, Americas and Europe! Get to know a Regional Facilitator that you feel representing your region.


Amalia " I develop programmes for stakeholders in tackling climate change and watershed problems" - Indonesia

Amalia Wulansari is a project manager in BINTARI Foundation, Semarang Indonesia. She works for climate change adaptation and mitigation in up stream and down stream areas. She has been working in capacity building for climate change issues since 2008. She develops development programs for stakeholders in tackling climate change and watershed problems. Garang Watershed Leadership Program is her effort to invite collaborative leadership in Garang River. She also works for environmental education for students, teachers, and farmers in terms of building resiliency.


Ambiya " I feel people need a supportive and encouraging environment in order to grow individually" - Indonesia

Ambiya founded Yayasan Inisiatif Hijau Indonesia last year, which is aimed at creating a low-carbon society through facilitating innovative green ideas and leadership development. He professionally works as a life and career coach and and is in the process of becoming  an associate coach for PT. Kubah Inspirasi and PT. Inspirasi Indonesia. He feels people need a supportive and encouraging environment  in order to grow individually and work effectively. Ambiya is a master-practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP™) and a mindfulness practitioner. He is also a lecturer at Mercubuana University.


Kristina " I use narrative storytelling for authentic social impact reporting" - South Africa

Kristina Gubic is an independent communications for development (C4D) consultant focusing on the water, energy, food nexus and sustainable livelihoods in Africa. Kristina uses a participatory approach to engage communities, civil society, government and private sector in collaborative stakeholder dialogues that seek to deliver objective and authentic social impact reporting through narrative storytelling and helps shape sustainable programme design.


Zeinab El Maadawi " I am an advocate for using collaborative tools to promote cross-cultural communication" - Egypt
Zeinab El Maadawi (MD) is an associate professor at Kasr Alainy Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Egypt. Her research interest is in the field of regenerative medicine & stem cell research. Moreover, she is an expert in technology enhanced learning in areas that include e-learning management, instructional design, content development, tutoring of virtual communities & quality management of e-learning courses. She is also interested in new & emerging technologies that are used to link health care delivery, medical education & biomedical research. She is an advocate for using virtual collaborative tools to promote cross-cultural communication & to enhance management & leadership skills for start ups & emerging leaders worldwide.


Julia "I am very friendly and always looking to learn something new" - USA

Julia was born and raised in El Salvador in Central America. She obtained her bachelors degree in International Affairs and lives and works in New York Metropolitan area. She is part of the Development Diplomacy Program 2012, GIZ alumni, where she met great people from all over the globe and sees it as one of her best experiences so far! She loves to read, jog and meet new people.


Juliana "Writing in the silence of commas, drawing spaces with a bicycle and dancing as such are some of my favourite activities" - Brazil/ Germany

Juliana Figale is Ph.D. student at the European Graduate School, focusing on political philosophy and psychoanalysis. She holds a M.A. in public policy from Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) and a B.A. in economics from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) in Brazil. Writing in the silence of commas, drawing spaces with a bicycle and dancing as such are some of her favourite activities.

Currently living in Berlin, she works at the German Federal Foreign Office, Training for International Diplomats. With more than 10 years of work experience, Juliana Figale has been researching about sovereignty, citizenship and subjectivity. She is co-founder of Saravia Institute, a think-tank oriented to the field of public policy and governance. As researcher at Getulio Vargas Foundation, she has also consulted governmental institutions, e.g. Brazilian Presidency, Brazilian Ministry of Culture, among others. She is alumna of the Managing Global Governance Programme (MGG), implemented by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the German Development Institute (DIE) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).


Agnieszka " The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change /Heraclitus/ " - Europe (Berlin)

Agnieszka works for En Buenas Manos e.V. in Berlin, where she tries to raise the awareness about sustainable development and health nutrition through work with children. Parallel, she is a Research Assistant at MCC Research Institute in Berlin and is embarking on her PhD, which shall be conducted at the PIK Institute in Potsdam and should allow to investigate the tools and factors for public engagement into current environmental policy discourse and the transition process. Previously, she has finished Environmental Engineering at AGH University of Science and Technology in Poland.



Diego " I am always looking to connect the dots and subvert paradigms to enhance development" - Mexico

Diego Angelino Velazquez is always looking  to connect the dots and subvert paradigms to enhance development.  So, is he currently collaborating with the GIZ as a National Advisor for the project "Emerging Market Multinationals Network for Sustainability".

He has been working in the field of development as a coordinator, researcher and facilitator. He has been involved in development activities all over the country with CSOs, social movements, institutes and youth collectives. Diego have been presenting and giving conferences on topics like accountability of local governments and global civil society, and he is an specialist on geopolitics, local development and civil society studies.

Arun " I like to travel and meet new people"- India

Arun Sharma is working with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in its South Asia division as government to person (G2P) payments specialist. Arun works with government of Bihar, a low income state in India, to streamline their payment systems and spends most of his time in Bihar. Prior to joining the IFC, Arun worked with government of India for over 12 years. He holds a Bachelors degree in Civil Engineering from IIT Varanasi, and an MBA from ISB, Hyderabad. He likes to travel and meet new people. He lives in New Delhi with his wife and two children.