Trainers: School for Thinktankers

22 January 2019
SERIES School for Thinktankers

On Think Tanks organises the School for Thinktankers, an initiative aimed at inspiring the next generation of think tank leaders.

The first four editions of the School for Thinktankers (2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020). (Winterschool) were organised in partnership with foraus and the Think Tank Hub

These are the lecturers, speakers, and trainers that have joined us for the School of Thinktankers since 2017.

Governance and management

Anna Stunzi. President, foraus – Swiss Forum on Foreign Policy

Anna Stünzi studied psychology and economics and is currently doing her doctorate at the ETH in Zurich on environmental and resource economics. In 2014, she took over GOE GmbH and, together with two architects, built a new company dealing with the planning and construction of renewable energy installations. Anna has been a member of foraus since 2011 and co-managed the environment, transport, and energy program in 2016. She is the co-author of several foraus publications and established the Sustainable FinTech project in 2017. In addition to her work for foraus, Anna is a member of the board of the association Gemeinsam Znacht and of the Leadership Council of SDSN Switzerland.

Anna joined us for the WinterSchool in 2020.

Lizza Bomassi. Deputy Director, Carnegie Europe

Lizza Bomassi is the deputy director of Carnegie Europe, where she is responsible for harmonizing Carnegie Europe’s strategic and operational priorities and managing relations with Carnegie’s global centers and programs as well as partner organizations in Europe. She has a background in communications and development studies. Previously, Lizza worked for the EastWest Institute’s International Task Force on Preventive Diplomacy, a group of leading decisionmakers working to make conflict prevention a reality. During her time there she helped establish the Parliamentarians Network for Conflict Prevention and the Global Conference on Preventive Action. Prior to this, Lizza worked for Save the Children in Pakistan and Afghanistan on emergency relief and humanitarian assistance programs for Afghan refugees in Pakistan and internally displaced people in Afghanistan. She has also spent time working in the private sector in France. Lizza has written on a range of topics, including Asia, migration, and the impact of demographic shifts on violent conflict.

Lizza joined us in 2020 and in 2021.

Darius Farman. Co-head programme Europe, foraus – Swiss Forum on Foreign Policy

Darius Farman has been active at foraus since 2016. He studied political science and economics at the University of Geneva and the ETH Zurich. He works as a researcher for the think tank Avenir Suisse. In the past, he has worked at the ETH Center for Security Studies (CSS) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in Brussels. A graduate of the College of Europe, he is particularly interested in the various dimensions of European integration, including Swiss-EU relations, the free movement of persons, migration, and EU social policy.

Darius joined us in 2020.

Thomas Biersteker. Professor of international security and Director of policy research at the Graduate Institute Geneva

Thomas Biersteker previously directed the Graduate Institute’s Programme for the Study in International Governance, the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown. He has also taught in Yale and the University of Southern California. As an author and editor, he published various books on governance. He is currently focusing his research on transnational policy network or global security. Besides his academic work, he was the principal developer of SanctionApp, a tool for mobile devices created in 2013 to increase access to information about targeted sanctions at the UN.

Thomas joined us in 2018.

Alexandre Biedermann. Vice-president of the Board of foraus

Alexandre Biedermann is the Vice-President of the Board of foraus and an active member of the organisation. Before joining the board, he was the coordinator of the group foraus– Genève. He studied European and international law in Switzerland.  Alexandre works as a scientific collaborator in the international and European law department at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. He is also currently writing his PHD about State’s international responsibility.

Alexandre joined us  in 2018.

Luca Brunner. Co-head & co-founder of foraus global

Luca Brunner is co-head & co-founder of foraus global, an international network for grassroots think tanks and a spin-off of foraus. He studied political science and law (MA degree) and he mainly worked in the media sector and in the field of international politics.

Luca joined us in 2017.

Lukas Hupfer. Director of foraus – The Swiss think tank on foreign policy

Lukas Hupfer has experience in foreign policy both as an academic and professional. Following his studies at SciencesPo Paris he served the Swiss Foreign Ministry in Bern and Hebron. After five years of diplomatic service, Lukas was appointed director of foraus – the Swiss think tank on foreign policy in April 2018. foraus is a grassroots think tank that generates independent, high quality recommendations for decision makers and the public. Its non-partisan approach aims to promote an open dialogue and informed decision-making on all aspects of foreign policy.

Lukas joined us  in 2019 and in 2021.


Maria Isabelle Wiesser. Director Romande for foraus

Maria Isabelle studied political sciences, law and European studies with a focus on gender and feminist foreign policy at the universities of Lucerne and Geneva respectively. Before taking over as director of Romandie in September 2018, she worked as an academic associate for the Swiss Embassy in Washington D.C and co-founded the foraus gender programme, which was launched in May 2017.

Maria Isabelle joined us in 2020 and 2021.

Thomas Guerber. Director of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF)

Director of DCAF since 2016, Thomas has extensive experience in multilateral diplomacy and policy development relating to human security, human rights and sustainable development. From 2010 to 2013, Ambassador Guerber was Switzerland’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. From 2007 to 2010, he worked as a counsellor for financial, budgetary and institutional issues at Switzerland’s permanent mission to the UN in New York.

Thomas joined us  in 2017.

Enrique Mendizabal. Founder and director of On Think Tanks

Enrique Mendizabal is an independent policy entrepreneur. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA). Until December 2010 he worked for the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) where he headed the Research and Policy in Development (RAPID) programme. At ODI he co-founded the Outcome Mapping Learning Community. Enrique is the co-founder of Politics & Ideas, the Peruvian Alliance for the Use of Evidence, and the Premio PODER al Think Tank Peruano del Año. Since 2016, he organises an annual Evidence Week in Latin America. He lives in Lima (Peru) but spends quite some time in London and traveling to visit think tanks across the world. He combines this with travel writing.

Enrique joined us in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Jonas Nakonz. Project manager at foraus  – Swiss Forum on Foreign Policy

Jonas Nakonz is a project manager at foraus, specialising in innovative formats to facilitate political dialogue and collaboration. He currently runs Policy Kitchen, a crowd-innovation approach to generate policy recommendations in a distributed, inclusive and participatory fashion (

Jonas joined us in 2019.

Emilia Pasquier. former director of foraus

Emilia Pasquier is the director of foraus – the Swiss Think Tank for foreign policy. Prior to this position, Emilia was Deputy secretary general at the International Chamber of Commerce Switzerland and focal point for the UN Global Compact Switzerland. Between 2011 and 2013, she worked as a research assistant and as an author at Année Politique Suisse – the Swiss yearbook on Swiss policies, where she specialised on Swiss foreign policy and social groups. Emilia holds a Master in political and cconomic philosophy from the University of Bern. She is a member of the Board of the Association Suisse de Politique Étrangère and member of the political advisory board of the European Forum Alpbach. Emilia was named one of the year’s top 100 Swiss personalities by L’Hebdo magazine in 2017.

Emilia joined us  in 2017 and 2018.

Policy relevant research

Chukwuka Onyekwena. Executive Director of the Center for the Study of the Economies of Africa (CSEA)

Dr. Chukwuka Onyekwena is the Executive Director of the Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa (CSEA). He is also the Chair of the Advisory Board of Africa Portal, a member of the Steering Committee of the Southern Voice, and a member of the African Policy Circle. His research interests include Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Trade, Global Economic Governance, Education quality, Energy, Agricultural productivity, and Financial Inclusion. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from University of Portsmouth, UK., and Executive Education certificates in Rethinking Financial Inclusion and Evaluating Social Programs from Harvard Kenny School of Government and JPAL-MIT respectively.

Chukwuka joined us in 2021.

Maurizio Bona. Senior advisor for relations with parliaments and science for policy, CERN

Maurizio Bona was born in Milan. He holds an engineering degree (1979) and a Doctor degree in material science (1983) from Politecnico di Milano. He participated in the design and development phases of the LHC superconducting magnets and later taught applied superconductivity and superconducting magnets as an invited Professor at the University of Genoa. After holding various technical positions at CERN for more than 20 years, in 2009 he became Advisor to the Director-General, charged with relations with international organizations. He was instrumental to develop the CERN network of relations with other international organizations and to obtain the status of Observer for CERN in the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 2012. He is an expert in science diplomacy and promoter of initiatives aimed at raising awareness within Academia, Parliaments, and the diplomatic community on the role of science, technology, and STEM education for the good of society. As of October 2016, he is Senior Advisor for relations with Parliaments and Science for policy, as well as Senior Advisor on knowledge transfer.

Maurizio joined us in 2020.

Leandro Echt. Research associate at On Think Tanks

Leandro Echt is a research associate at On Think Tanks. He works in the policy and research field. He engages with think tanks, researchers, NGOs and public agencies interested in linking evidence with public decisions, particularly in developing countries, through capacity building, mentoring and consultancy activities including evaluation of programs and organisational assessments. He is also the general coordinator of Politics and Ideas. Previously, he was the coordinator of the Influence, Monitoring and Evaluation Program at the Argentinean think tank Center for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth (CIPPEC). He is Argentinian and currently based in Florida, United States.

Leandro joined us in 2018.

Ekkehard Ernst. Chief macroeconomic at the policy unit of the ILO

Ekkehard Ernst leads Global Policy Dialogues on the Future of Work and other far-reaching challenges. At the International Labour Organization, he reflects on how artificial intelligence, an ageing society, climate change or populism might impact jobs and inequality. Together with the Geneva Macro Labs Ekkehard organizes regular conferences and roundtables to stimulate exchange and creative thinking on how to address these challenges. He regularly publishes blogs, newspaper articles, and policy reports and presents his insights at international conferences. His most recent work discusses the risks and opportunities of a wide-spread adoption of artificial intelligence, in particular for developing countries.

Ekkehard joined us in 2019.

Laura Merrill. International Institute for Sustainable Development

Laura Merril is a practitioner, consultant and economist in sustainable development. Laura works on the social and environmental impacts of fossil fuel subsidies, pricing and their reform. She is an economist with expertise in energy policy. She manages the Global Subsidies Initiative of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), works alongside the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform, and supports in-country work including in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and Nigeria. She leads on fossil fuel subsidies and the link to climate change and gender impacts.

Laura joined us in 2019.

Andrea Ordoñez. Director of Southern Voice

Andrea Ordoñez is director of Southern Voice, a network of think tanks devoted to bringing research from the global south to international debates on the development agenda. She co-edited the book Southern Perspectives on the Post-2015 International Development Agenda with Debapriya Bhattacharya that compiles the research on a diversity of development issues by researchers in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Her work focuses on better linking researchers from the global south with their counterparts in other countries, strengthening their presence in international debates and fostering better knowledge systems to support sustainable development. She was previously the research director at Grupo FARO, a think tank in Ecuador. Andrea has developed research projects for the public sector and has carried out institutional and sectoral assessments for numerous international organisations. She is an economist by training and has a strong interest in how to carry out research and policy analysis that can inform policy.

Andrea joined us in 2018.

Michaela Told. Executive director of Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute Geneva

Michaela Told is currently the executive director of the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. Prior to moving into academia, she worked with the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement at local, regional and international levels in all continents, most recently heading the Principles and Values Department of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Earlier in her career, she worked with the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Division of Development Cooperation and later served as secretary general of an international women’s human rights NGO based in Geneva. In her current position she co-heads the WHO Collaborating Centre on Governance for Health and Global Health Diplomacy in Geneva. She has been instrumental in establishing these centres and has been involved in the THINK_SDGs network from its beginning. She holds three master’s degrees across different disciplines and a PhD in Cultural Studies.

Michaela joined us in 2019.

Peter Taylor. Director of Research, Institute of Development Studies.

Peter Taylor is Director of Research at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), UK. Previously he was Director, Strategic Development, at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Ottawa, Canada where he was responsible for leading IDRC’s strategic planning processes. During his ten years with IDRC, he also served as Acting Director of the Inclusive Economies Program Area, and as Associate Director for the Think Tank Initiative, a ten-year, multi-partner programme that supported strengthening of policy research organizations in Africa, South Asia and Latin America. Peter has more than 30 years of experience in international development. He also worked at IDS as a Research Fellow, Head of Graduate Studies, and Leader of the Participation, Power and Social Change Team; as Education Technical Advisor with the Swiss NGO Helvetas in Vietnam; as Lecturer in Agricultural Education at the Agricultural Extension and Rural Development Department at the University of Reading, UK; and as Head of the agriculture department in a rural secondary school in northern Botswana. Peter holds a PhD and MSc in agricultural education, and a BSc degree in animal sciences. He has research, teaching and writing interests in the theory and practice of organizational development and capacity strengthening, evaluation and learning, and facilitation of participatory and social change processes in a diverse range of international contexts.

Peter joined us in 2021.

Simon Maxwell. Former executive director of the Overseas Development Institute

Simon Maxwell is one of the UK’s leading specialists on international development. He is a development economist with a career in research, aid management and policy advice spanning 45 years. He worked overseas for ten years, in Kenya and India for UNDP, and for the UK aid programme in Bolivia, then for fifteen years at IDS in Sussex, and for a dozen years as Director of ODI in London. He was until recently Executive Chair of the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (, and a Specialist Adviser to the House of Commons International Development Select Committee. He is currently Chair of the European Think Tanks Group ( Simon is a past President of the Development Studies Association of the UK and Ireland. In 2007, he was awarded a CBE for services to international development.

Simon joined us in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Monitoring, evaluation and learning

Katinka Koke. Associate programme officer at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)

Katinka Koke’s work focuses on supporting the development of UNITAR’s evaluation function: providing support to programmes in the design and development of surveys; measurement and evaluation of learning programmes; undertaking reviews of decentralised evaluations; and contributing to independent evaluation exercises.

Katinka joined us in 2017.

Kali Taylor. Co-founder and executive director of Student Energy

Kali Taylor is a sustainable development professional, with a keen interest in systems thinking, social change, and youth engagement. Kali currently works with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) in Geneva coordinating action on the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Kali is a co-founder and the executive director of Student Energy, a global not-for-profit dedicated to empowering the next generation of leaders who will transition the world to a sustainable energy future. She holds a bachelor of commerce degree from the University of Calgary specialised in energy management, and a graduate diploma in social innovation from the University of Waterloo.

Kali joined us in 2017 and 2018.

Benjamin Tyler Smith. Knowledge management officer at Green Growth Knowledge Platform

Benjamin Tyler Smith leads knowledge management and partnership outreach for the Green Growth Knowledge Platform. Prior to joining the Green Growth Knowledge Platform, he worked on trade and environmental issues with UN Environment and the UN’s International Trade Centre. Before joining the UN system, Ben worked for American and European consulting firms on trans-national economic and environmental issues. He has a master’s degree in international economics from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC.

Benjamin joined us in 2017.

Stephen Yeo. On Think Tanks advisor at large and former chief executive officer of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Stephen Yeo is the former Executive Director of CEPR. Under his leadership, CEPR launched VoxEU, a global economic research platform. He has had extensive involvement in building capacity for policy research and analysis in Sub-Saharan Africa, along with experience in monitoring and evaluation, in particular of policy research networks and policy influencing projects. He is currently involved in the evaluation of the International Growth Centre (IGC).

Stephen joined us for all editions of the School for Thinktankers.


Dena Lomofsky. Partner and Senior Consultant at Southern Hemisphere

Dena is a development sociologist with over 20 years’ experience in the field. She has an honours degree in Industrial Sociology from the University of Cape Town, South Africa and a MA in Social Development from the University of the Western Cape. She has a special interest in participatory processes and building learning organisations. Dena has been working in the area of policy influence since 2010 and compliments her work with think tanks and research organisations by working with community development organisations and governments. Dena lives and works in South Africa, and is a managing member of Southern Hemisphere, which she co-founded in 2000. Dena is a skilled researcher, evaluator, trainer and facilitator. She specialises in applied research and evaluations; capacity building; programme design and planning; organisational strategy; and the design of monitoring, evaluation and learning systems.

Dena joined us in 2021.


Keith Burnet. Director of communications and publishing at Chatham House

Keith Burnet is director of communications and publishing at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, where he oversees its communications strategy and outreach and has overall responsibility for the institute’s magazine The World Today and journal International Affairs. His previous marketing-and communications-related roles include Wood Mackenzie & Co; NatWest Securities; Wiley-Blackwell; the Industrial Society; the Disablement Income Group; and the Labour party. He studied business and politics at Oxford Brookes University and the Curtin University, Western Australia. He was co-founder of the Scottish fanzine Deadbeat which allowed him to indulge his interest in music and interview and write about artists and bands including Morrissey, New Order and, Echo and the Bunnymen.

Keith joined us in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Catherine Fiankan-Bokonga. Vice-President of the Geneva Press Club

Catherine Fiankan-Bokonga is president of the Association of the Accredited Correspondents to the United Nations (ACANU). From 2013 to 2015, she was the vice-president of the Foreign Press in Switzerland and Lichtenstein.  As a special reporter, she did several missions, especially in Africa. She is also working as a journalist specialised in the area of international relations for various media such as France 24 and Radio Vatican. Since 2016, she is editor-in-chief and publication director of the Klvin Mag, a review that is distributed throughout Switzerland.

Catherine joined us in 2017 and 2018.

Carolina Kern. Independent Consultant

Carolina has 20 years’ experience working for development and humanitarian organisations, helping them to design, manage and raise the profile of their programmes. She has excellent skills in policy analysis, research and communications, and has worked for bilateral donors, NGOs, various UN agencies, and think tanks. Carolina spent seven years at the Overseas Development Institute where she managed communications for the Humanitarian Policy Group. She is now an independent consultant based in Tunisia after working as a communications and policy advisor to the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General in South Sudan, and managing projects for Australia’s aid programmes in Kenya, Sudan, and South Sudan. She currently works for a range of clients including the World Health Organization and the World Bank with a focus on public health – especially health systems strengthening.

Carolina joined us in 2021.

Jenifer Freedman. Chief of communications and outreach, results and evaluation at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)

With over 20 years at UNISDR Jenifer Freedman supports the director on the strategic direction and regular administration and management of the Institute, partnerships and external relations, and acts as officer-in-charge in the director’s absence. She oversees the Institute’s engagement with International Geneva.

Jenifer joined us in 2017.

Jeff Knezovich. Former associate at On Think Tanks and current technical officer at the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research

Jeff Knezovich is a digital communications and data visualisation specialist based in Switzerland. He has spent the last decade working in a range of UK-based think tanks in various communication capacities. He managed the digital communication activities of the Nuffield Trust, a think tank focused on the UK’s health system. Before that, he managed the policy influence and research uptake activities for the Future Health Systems research consortium at the Institute of Development Studies. He also worked in the Research and Policy in Development (RAPID) Programme at ODI where he oversaw programme communication activities and those of several large projects. In addition to delivering a wide range of communication strategies and outputs, he also has a strong track record of working with others to help them to develop their communication skills.

Jeff joined us in 2017 and 2018.

Ellen Mather. Lead branding designer at Soapbox

Ellen Mather is the branding specialist at Soapbox. She helps clients build strong brands and visual identities that align with their mission and purpose to have the greatest impact. She joined Soapbox after studying graphic design at the London College of Communication and is currently studying part-time for a Master’s in Brands, Communication, and Culture at Goldsmiths. Outside Soapbox she has a keen interest in wider visual culture and sociology.

Ellen joined us in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Alexandre Munafò. Head of strategic partnerships and communications at Interpeace

Alexandre Munafò is the head of strategic partnerships and communications at Interpeace, where he oversees and manages the organisation’s engagement with a broad variety of external stakeholders and partners including donor governments and policymakers.  Alexandre is a member of the Geneva Diplomatic Club and founding member of the Association AGIR, whose purpose is to build bridges and synergies between the International Geneva and the wider public in the greater Geneva area. He is also vice-president of ASED (Action for the Support to Deprived Children), a Geneva-based organisation supporting access to education in six developing countries.

Alexandre joined us in 2017.

Verena Parzer-Epp. Director of communications at Avenir Suisse

Verena Parze-Epp is head of communications and publishing at Avenir Suisse.

Verena joined us  in 2017.

Andrea von Siebenthal. Communications manager at Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD)

Andrea von Siebenthal leads the development and implementation of the communication and outreach strategy, embracing new channels and tools, to increase the recognition of the GICHD by its stakeholders, partners as well as the media and the diplomatic and donor community.  Prior to joining the GICHD, Andrea worked as an independent communication and media consultants. She was also a media trainer for crisis communication, an event moderator, and talk show host. Over the last decade, she has been engaged in different aspects of the communications and media landscape, from starting a media-software company to working in digital, print, and broadcasting journalism.

Andrea joined us in 2017.

John Schwartz. Founder and CEO of Soapbox

John Schwartz is the founder and CEO of Soapbox, a global creative communications agency working with many of the world’s leading think tanks, NGOs and academic institutions. John studied philosophy and politics at the University of Warwick and previously worked for the Institute for Public Policy Research in London and as a publisher of political books. He was a producer on the multi-award-winning documentary They will have to kill us first about the 2012 civil war in Mali. He has a passion for making public policy work accessible to wider audiences and for communicating it in innovative ways.

John joined us in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Philippe Stoll. Deputy head of public communication at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva

Philippe Stoll is in charge of proximity communication and engagement with communities as well as thematic files related to innovation, new tech, crowdfunding, strategies, and influence. Prior to that, he has managed public and media relations for Asia and the Pacific at ICRC Headquarters. He has worked for the ICRC in India, in Sierra Leone, and in Israel and the Occupied Territories.  He holds a masters in economic sciences from the University of Geneva and in journalism from the University of Lausanne. Before joining the ICRC in 2003, he worked as a journalist for six years in Switzerland for print media and television.

Phillipe joined us in 2017.

Memuna Forna. Communications Consultant and Editor On Insight Online

Memuna Forna is a Sierra Leonean writer, publisher, campaigner, public speaker and communications consultant. In 2015, she launched the Invest Sierra Leone series of investment forums, which brought international investors together with Sierra Leonean businesses; and founded Insight, Sierra Leone’s first business and investment publication.

She started her career as a journalist in the UK, before moving into communications. Her career includes leading communications for a number of high-profile organisations, among them – Management Today, the National Portrait Gallery and the Work Foundation – which was described by the Guardian newspaper as the UK’s best-known think tank. She has worked with private and public sector leaders at the highest level, in both the UK and in Sierra Leone.

Fundraising and financial management

Anthony Boateng. Financial Specialist and Lead for Africa at NIRAS

Anthony is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (FCMA), a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) with a Master of Laws (LL.M) in International Commercial Law. Anthony is the current Chairman of the Research and Development Panel for the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), Vice Chair of the Thought Leadership Committee of CIMA and immediate past Chair, African Regional Board of CIMA.

Anthony is currently the lead for Africa and the financial resilience specialist for the evaluations of the Ford Foundation African Building Institutions and Networks (BUILD) initiative. BUILD is a five-year, $1 billion investment in the long-term capacity and sustainability of up to 300 social justice organisations around the world. Anthony’s main role is to provide leadership for the African cohort of the evaluations mostly in East and West Africa. This includes leading on contacts with all three Ford Foundation offices in Africa as well as conducting case studies on financial resilience of the cohorts in the region.

Anthony joined us in 2021.

Sonja Stojanovic Gajic. Director of the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP)

Sonja Stojanovic is the director of BCSP. She holds an MA in politics, security and integration with distinction from the School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies, University College London. Prior to her current appointment, she worked with the Strategic Development Unit of the OSCE Mission to Serbia and Montenegro’s Law Enforcement Department as a coordinator of the strategic management programme for the Serbian and Montenegrin police services in the period of 2006-2011. She is the author of the methodology for measuring security sector reform (SSR) in transitional societies from the perspective of civil society tested in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia.

Sonja joined us for all editions of the School for Thinktankers.

Will Paxton. Director of KIVU International

Will Paxton is the founding director of Kivu International, a specialist organisation which supports and advises think tanks and others on influencing policy in developing countries. He has worked in a number of high-level government policy adviser positions. This includes working on education and children’s policy for the UK Prime Minister, based in the No10 Policy Unit (a team of 10-15 advisers working across all UK government policy issues) and as a senior adviser for the Secretary of State for Education. Will also worked for five years at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), one of the UK’s most influential think tanks.

Will joined us in 2017.

Dr. Marc-André Pradervand. Former Head of Direct Marketing & Donor Care Unit a.i., Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Switzerland

Marc-André Pradervand studied business administration and management information systems at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. After working for several years as a consultant he joined an international non-profit organisation and discovered the beauty of fundraising. He has now been a fundraiser for over 18 years and has held different positions in organisations such as UNICEF, Save the Children, World Vision and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Currently he is the head of fundraising for the Synapsis Foundation – Alzheimer Research Switzerland. He is also an active member of the Swiss fundraising association and trains fundraisers.

Marc-André joined us in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Milena Gaitan. Financial and Administative Director. Fundacion Ideas para la Paz

International Relations professional, specialized in business with a master in strategic management. With 15 years of experience in administrative and financial management in non-profit organizations, think tanks and educational sector. Currently appointed as Operations and Finance Director at the Colombian Think Tank Fundación Ideas para la Paz – FIP, with proficiencies in national and international projects development, strategic planning and relationship with Board members, administrative and financial planning, budget tracking, procurement and operations management. Alumni of the OTT Winter School 2019 and speaker at the 11th Iberoamerican Academy of Management Conference, where she presented her paper on “Factors that favour the viability of a Think Tank: Desing proposal”.

Milena joined us in 2021.

Scarlett Varga. Head of Development, Bruegel.

Scarlett is part of Bruegel’s management team and leads its development department. She is in charge of developing and implementing Bruegel’s fundraising strategy and partnership efforts, enhancing of Bruegel’s outreach image by being active and visible among different stakeholders (Corporations, EU officials, Foundations, government officials, civic and private organisations etc). She also supports the development of the annual budget.

Prior to working in Bruegel she worked for the renewable energy industry (solar) on research and industry-led projects. She worked and travelled extensively in Latin America, setting up energy cooperatives in the Atacama region and Patagonia. She is trained in Economics and Business (BSc) and the European Union’s Financing Schemes (MA).

Scarlett is also co-founder of The Brussels Binder, the online database of women experts and in co-leader of the BBBeyond project, a spin-off initiative aimed at taking the Brussels Binder “Beyond” Brussels, across Europe. Scarlett is a Belgian and Romanian national, of Hungarian ethnicity.

Scarlett joined us in 2021.

Other areas

Eduardo Belinchón. Digital innovation manager at foraus

Eduardo Belinchón is a digital innovation manager at foraus where his work focuses on strengthening the think tank digital transformation, managing the development of Policy Kitchen, their digital engagement platform,  and strengthening the coordination and expansion of the Open Think Tank Network with new and innovative digital tools. Before joining foraus Eduardo spent more than four years as a data specialist at the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in New York, where his work focused on enhancing and promoting the compilation and dissemination of the Sustainable Development Goals data both within the international system and member states.

Eduardo joined us in 2019 and 2020.

Francesco Pisano. Director of the Library of the United Nations Office in Geneva

Francesco Pisano is an expert in international affairs with a professional background in humanitarian affairs, risk management, and research on knowledge systems. He has an academic background in international relations with a specialisation in diplomatic studies and conflict resolution, and law with a focus on public international law. He joined the United Nations in 1993.  He has served as Director of research, technology applications and knowledge systems at the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) where he was also the manager of UNOSAT (the Operational Satellite Applications Programme) from 2007 to 2012. Since 2016 he directs the UN Library in Geneva, a centre for research and knowledge exchange established in 1919, and the Cultural Activity Programme of UNOG, a space dedicated to cultural diplomacy and international outreach.

Francesco joined us for all editions of the School for Thinktankers.

Melanie Rayment. Social designer and strategist and associate at On Think Tanks

Melanie Rayment is a design strategist and social designer. She uses design-led practices to approach complex social issues in a cross-sector way and works with organisations to enhance their problem-solving capability and guide strategic change in a human-centred way. She co-designs policy, interventions, services, change and engagement programs to achieve public impact and the organisation’s mission. Melanie has 15 years’ experience in both the private and public sector. Her commercial experience includes working with global brands and agencies and during her time with the ‘big four’ management consultants, across Sydney, Tokyo, and London, Melanie applied design to large-scale organisational, customer and industry challenges.

Melanie joined us in 2019.


Orazio Belletini. Co-founder and former executive director of Grupo Faro.

Orazio is a social entrepreneur, public policy expert, and a think tank manager. He has trained graduated students, Ecuadorian mayors and local government officials in local finances, development policies and public reforms at the Catholic University in Ecuador (PUCE), Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO) and the University of Murcia, Spain. After his graduation at the Kennedy School of Government with a Master in Public Administration and Public Policy in 2004, Orazio has advised international agencies, civil society organizations and governments in México, Guatemala, Spain and Paraguay in issues related to the role of knowledge in the policy process, education, social change and institutional reform. Orazio is the Co-founder and former Executive Director of Grupo FARO, a think-and-do tank based in Ecuador and co-founder and former member of the Executive Committee of the Latin American Initiative of Research for Public Policy – ILAIPP. Orazio is co-founder and Executive Director of FUEGOS a civil society organization aimed at transforming food systems to promote health, identity and shared prosperity.  He was awarded as an Ashoka and Avina Fellow in 2008 and has been a fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation in Bellagio, Italy.

Orazio joined us in 2021.