Our Team

Executive & Administration Team

Burkhard Gnärig

Burkhard Gnärig

Executive Director



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At the beginning of 2007, Burkhard founded the International Civil Society Centre, originally the Berlin Civil Society Center, together with Peter Eigen and shortly thereafter, became Executive Director of the Centre. Burkhard has over 20 years’ experience of international cooperation and management of civil society organisations (CSOs). From 1998 to 2007 he was Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the International Save the Children Alliance, located in London. Before this, Burkhard was CEO of Greenpeace Germany and terre des hommes Germany. As a field director in Papua New Guinea, Burkhard also worked for the German Development Service. Burkhard has been Board Chair and Board Member of various CSOs in Italy, Switzerland, India, Korea and Japan, and has actively participated in a number of major UN conferences, as well as at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Helene Wolf

Helene Wolf

Deputy Executive Director

+49 (0) 30 20 62 46 97 16
hwolf@icscentre.org

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Helene joined the Centre in May 2011 and was appointed Deputy Executive Director in May 2013, overseeing the general management of the Centre and its projects. Prior to joining the Centre team, Helene worked as a Research Officer at the International Crisis Group’s headquarters in Brussels and as a Junior Consultant at a strategic communications consultancy in Berlin. Helene holds an MA in EU Politics and Government from the London School of Economics and has also studied Cultural Studies at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder) and in Wroclaw, Poland.

Marie-Sophie Keller

Marie-Sophie Keller

Executive Assistant

+49 30 20 62 46 97 11
mkeller@icscentre.org

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Marie joined the Centre as Executive Assistant in December 2016. She has a legal background, with a focus on international, European, and human rights law. Before joining the Centre, Marie worked with a CSO for environmental and social justice in Chennai (India), where she was responsible for legal consulting, researching, and assisting in campaigning. Previously, Marie completed the Blue Book Traineeship at the European Commission, working in the Directorate General for Fair Competition. Marie holds an L.L.M. in European law from Leiden University (the Netherlands), and an L.L.B. in International and European Law from the University of Groningen (the Netherlands).

Flora Kwong

Flora Kwong

Finance Manager

+49 30 20 62 46 97 20
fkwong@icscentre.org

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Flora joined the Centre as Finance Officer in October 2015. She is responsible for planning, administering and monitoring the Centre’s finances, while developing the Centre’s procedures as it grows. Prior to the Centre, Flora earned her Chartered Professional Accountant designation and worked as a consultant at Deloitte Enterprise Risk Services in Toronto, Canada. With a budding interest in international relations, she moved to Vienna in 2013 to complete her Master of Advanced International Studies. Her master thesis explored the elements for human rights change and the role played by the transnational advocacy network.

Anna Skowron

Anna Skowron

Office Coordinator

+49 (0) 30 20 62 46 97 10
askowron@icscentre.org

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Anna joined the Centre in February 2017 as the organisation’s Office Coordinator. She supports the DED, and ensures smooth running of the office and project work of the Centre. Anna has previously worked on renewable energy and climate change issues with Climate Action Network International as Campaign Coordination Assistant and as an Intern with the United Nations in Indonesia. She has an interdisciplinary background, focusing on law and politics in the East Asian region. Anna holds a BA in Japanese Studies, an MA in Modern East Asian Studies from the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main and an MSc in Asian Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

Fundraising & Communications

Erika Kinast

Erika Kinast

Fundraising Manager

+49 30 20 62 46 97 17
ekinast@icscentre.org

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Erika joined the Centre in January 2017 as the organisation’s Fundraising Manager. Erika has more than 10 years of experience working in education and youth development programs, including more than six years in the non-profit sector where she has worked primarily in fundraising, but also in program delivery, monitoring and evaluation, and organisational management and planning. Prior to working at the Centre she worked as the Development Director for the INGO Skateistan – a children’s sport for development organisation focusing on education and gender equality. Erika sits on the Board of Directors as the Second Chair for the German fundraising charity Skateistan e.V. and volunteers with several grassroots sport for development organisations. Originally from Canada, Erika completed her BA at Simon Fraser University (Canada) in 2009, and expects her MA from the Freie Universitaet Berlin in 2017. Erika has worked in Afghanistan, South Africa, Germany, and Canada.

Thomas Howie

Thomas Howie

Communications Coordinator

+49 (0) 30 20 62 46 97 17
thowie@icscentre.org

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Thomas joined the Centre in June 2017 as the Communications Coordinator. He is responsible for developing and implementing the Centre’s global communication strategy, as well as the Disrupt & Innovate platform - a place for civil society professionals and activists to discuss current innovations and future trends in the civil society sector. Prior to the Centre, Thomas worked for 5 years in the European Parliament firstly as the Digital and Social Media Coordinator for the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, and then, after the 2014 European elections, for Jude Kirton-Darling and Paul Brannen as Head of Communications, where he worked on issues such as the EU-US trade deal, issues around Brexit and as a specialist on the Petitions Committee. Thomas graduated from Bristol University with BSci in Geographical Sciences and holds an MA in Peace Studies from the University of Bradford, where he completed research into the role of civil society in the post war peace settlement in northern Uganda.

Programme Team

Peter Koblowsky

Peter Koblowsky

Project Officer - ICSO Flagship Events

+49 (0) 30 20 62 46 97 22
pkoblowsky@icscentre.org

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Peter joined the Centre in January 2013, back then as a trainee. He completed the traineeship in the advocacy & campaigning office of World Vision Germany. Back at the Centre, he is now working as Project Officer in the Convening team. He coordinates the Shared Services for ICSOs meeting series and supports the implementation of various other formats. Before joining the Centre, Peter worked for the German Development Institute and the Inter-Parliamentary Working Group in Bonn. During two stays in Nigeria, he worked with a local environmental CSO and organised educational workshops for youth. He studied at the University of Bonn and graduated with an MA in Political Science with a focus on multi-stakeholder advocacy.

Kathrin Kirste

Kathrin Kirste

Project Officer - ICSO Flagship Events

+49 (0) 30 20 62 46 97 14
kkirste@icscentre.org

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Kathrin joined the Centre as Project Officer in January 2017. Before, she worked with the Hanns-Seidel Foundation in Tanzania where she was responsible for research, communication, project evaluation and the launch of a civic education project. Previously, she completed an internship with the Green Party at German Parliament. Kathrin also is a freelance journalist and worked for political talk-shows on RBB, RTL, ZDF and an African radio show broadcasted at Deutsche Welle. Kathrin holds a M.Sc. in International Relations from the University of Amsterdam with a focus on international political economy, and a BA in Political Science from the Free University Berlin.

Miriam Niehaus

Miriam Niehaus

Project Manager - Securing Civic Rights

+49 30 20 62 46 97 15
mniehaus@icscentre.org

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Miriam joined the Centre in June 2014 as Executive Assistant supporting the work of the Executive Director and coordinating the Centre’s legal and governance related matters. Since 01 July 2016 Miriam is the Project Coordinator of the Civic Charter. Before starting at the Centre, Miriam worked within the GIZ Programme for Local Governance and Civil Society Development in Ramallah, Palestinian Territories. Prior to this, she held positions with VSO International as Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive and with VSO UK in the Volunteering Department. Miriam completed an MA in Near and Middle Eastern Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London in 2012 and a BA in Islamic Studies and Social Anthropology at Freiburg University in 2011 with stays in Egypt and Turkey.

Brandi Geurkink

Brandi Geurkink

Campaign Manager - Securing Civic Rights

+49 (0) 30 20 62 46 97 15
bgeurkink@icscentre.org

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Brandi joined the Centre as Campaign Manager for the Civic Charter in May of 2017. In her role as Campaign Manager, Brandi develops and oversees a global campaign strategy to defend the space for civic participation by supporting activists and organisations in running local and national campaigns using the Civic Charter as a basis for joint action and solidarity. Prior to joining the Centre, Brandi worked with The ONE Campaign in Washington, DC where she managed grassroots campaigns advocating for US development funding to help end extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. Brandi holds a BA in Political Science from Winthrop University where (in addition to finding her activist roots) she conducted original research on the Occupy movement to argue for the adoption of new methodologies to examine the impact of emerging social movements.

Marianne Henkel

Marianne Henkel

Project Coordinator - Scanning the Horizon

+49 30 20 62 46 97 15
mhenkel@icscentre.org

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Marianne manages the Centre’s Scanning the Horizon project, coordinating strategic foresight among ICSOs, bringing diverse actors’ perspectives into the exchange, and supporting the formation of a community of futurists. She has ten years of work experience in research and consultancy. Before joining the Centre, she has worked as Senior Project Manager in a consultancy and think tank for climate, environment and development, conducting projects on water management and sustainable entrepreneurship on behalf of international and national public donors. In a transdisciplinary research project, she has conducted empirical research on the contribution of social entrepreneurs to water supply and sanitation challenges, with case studies in Ecuador and India. Marianne holds a Diploma in Environmental Sciences from the University of Koblenz and a Master in musicology, German and English from the Universities of Cologne, Münster and Cardiff.

Åsa Månsson

Åsa Månsson

Project Director - Global Standard for CSO Accountability

+49 (0) 30 20 62 46 97 24
amansson@icscentre.org

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Åsa joined the Centre in 2009 as PA to the Executive Director. Between 2010 and 2013, Åsa acted as manager of the INGO Accountability Charter (Accountable Now). In September 2013, Åsa took up the role as Director of Development, innovating the Centre's fundraising and communication efforts. Since October 2016, Åsa has been Director of the Global Standard. Originally from Sweden, Åsa earlier worked for a consultancy, evaluating social projects within the public and civil society sector. Åsa studied European Studies and Sociology at universities in Gothenburg and Berlin. She completed her education with a Master’s thesis on the role of civil society in European governance.

Isabelle Büchner

Isabelle Büchner

Communications Officer - Global Standard for CSO Accountability

+49 30 20 62 46 97 24
ibuechner@icscentre.org

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Isabelle joined the Centre in December 2016 as Communications Officer in the Global Standard for CSO Accountability team. She supports and further develops the communication efforts of the project in order to expand its outreach. Before joining the Centre she worked as an intern for the MENA-focused magazine zenith and the communications agency Weber Shandwick. She holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Mannheim, focusing on civil war and democratisation in the Middle East. Subsequently she completed an MSc in Marketing in Edinburgh and wrote her master thesis on the communication strategy of Islamic State propaganda videos.

Katja Gürten

Katja Gürten

Global Partnerships Manager - Global Standard for CSO Accountability

+49 (0) 30 20 62 46 97 24
kguerten@icscentre.org

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Katja joined the Centre in February 2017 as Accountability Advisor to the Global Standard for CSO Accountability project and supported the co-creation process for the Global Standard between the project partners. As Global Partnerships Manager, she advises partner organisations on the implementation of the Global Standard. Before joining the Centre, Katja has worked as a peace and conflict advisor for the Forum Civil Peace Service, Lern-Planet and with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit. Katja holds a BA in International Studies from the University of Montreal and an MA in Conflict Resolution from the University of Bradford

Yvonne Madondo

Yvonne Madondo

Senior Accountability Advisor - Global Standard for CSO Accountability

+263 772 762 002
ymadondo@icscentre.org

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Yvonne joined the Centre in October 2015 as the Senior Accountability Advisor to the Global Standard for CSO Accountability project. She supports the co-creation process for the Global Standard between the project partners, and contributes to the adoption of a community of practice around global CSO accountability. Prior to joining the Centre, Yvonne was the Humanitarian Accountability Coordinator for the PRIZE consortium in Zimbabwe, focusing on the design, implementation and evaluation of rights-based approaches to delivering development assistance. Before that, she was working as an Independent Consultant, evaluating the performance of international CSOs in beneficiary accountability practice. She has facilitated the adoption of community-centred feedback and response mechanisms among ICSOs in Southern Africa, with an emphasis on learning and sharing across the wider CSO network – locally, regionally and internationally. Yvonne holds an MA in Development Studies from Midlands State University in Zimbabwe, where she explored how CSOs working in the food security sector in Zimbabwe were practicing greater accountability to recipient communities.