Speakers 2020

Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas

Heiko Maas
Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany

Heiko Maas was appointed Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs on 14 March 2018. Before that, he served as Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection in the previous government from 2013 until 2018.

Before he was appointed Federal Minister in 2013, Heiko Maas had been a member of the Saarland State Government and a member of the Saarland Landtag (State Parliament) since 1994. In the Saarland, he served as Minister of Environment, Energy and Transport between 1998 and1999 and as Minister of Economics, Labour, Energy and Transport as well as Deputy Minister-President of Saarland from 2012 until 2013.

Minister Maas has stressed the importance of addressing the impacts of climate change on international peace and security on many occasions. In 2018, he co-initiated the Group of Friends on Climate and Security, seeking to help enable the UN system to better respond to the interlinkages between climate change and peacebuilding, and to develop greater understanding and capacity to address climate-fragility risks on the ground.  As non­permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2019/2020 term, Germany has decided to introduce climate and security as a priority issue on the Council’s agenda.

“Climate change is real. It is having a global impact. And it is increasingly becoming a threat to international peace and security”. (Maas, 2019)

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Jean-Yves Le Drian
Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic

Jean-Yves Le Drian serves as the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs since 2017. From 2012 to 2017 he was the French Minister of Defence. Between 1991 and 1992 he served as Minister of State for Marine Affairs, in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Housing, Transport and Space.

Next to his ministerial positions he held a number of elected positions. From 1978 to 1991 and 1997 to 2007 he was the National Assembly Deputy for the Morbihan Department and held the position of President of the Regional Council of Brittany from 2004 to 2012, following six years as a regional councillor. From 1978 to 1991 and 1997 to 2007 he was the National Assembly Deputy for the Morbihan Department. Jean-Yves Le Drian has served in further positions, including as President of the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR) in 2010 and as Vice-President of the French Delegation to the European Committee of the Regions in 2005. Since 2005 he acts as representative for the Regions at the Board of the European Committee of the Regions.


Raychelle Awuor Omamo
Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya

Ambassador Raychelle Awuor Omamo is the current Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya. Prior to her appointment she served as Cabinet Secretary of Defence and Chairperson of the Defence Council between 2013 and the beginning of 2020. In 2015, she also served as the Acting Cabinet Secretary of Labour and Social Protection.

In her capacity as a diplomat, Ambassador Omamo was privileged to represent Kenya as the first female Ambassador to France with accreditation to Spain, Portugal, the Holy See and Serbia and as Kenya's Permanent Representative to UNESCO during the period 2003 and 2009.

Ambassador Omamo is a lawyer by profession having received her training at the University of Kent at Canterbury in the United Kingdom and at the Kenya School of Law. She is a Senior Counsel and as a practitioner was elected Chairperson of the Law Society of Kenya and the Vice President of the East Africa Law Society. She was also the recipient of the ICJ Jurist of Year award in 2002.

Ambassador Omamo has served on a number of Kenya Government taskforces and commissions related to the advancement of the rule of law such as the Task Force on Landlord and Tenant Law, the Task Force on the Establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and as Counsel to the Ndung’u Commission.

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Ine Eriksen Søreide
Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Norway

Ine Eriksen Søreide is the first female Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway. She was Minister of Defence from 2013 to 2017 and served as member of the Storting (Norwegian parliament) for 12 years prior to her appointment. From 2009 to 2013, she chaired the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence and was the Head of the Delegation for Relations with the European Parliament as well as Head of the European Consultative Committee. From 2005 to 2009, Ms Ine Eriksen Søreide chaired the Standing Committee on Education, Research and Church Affairs. She started her political career in 1996 as a member of the Central Committee of the Young Conservatives. From 2000 to 2004, she chaired the Young Conservatives. Moreover, she was a member of the Conservative Party Executive Committee from 2004 to 2014. Ms Ine Eriksen Søreide has a graduate degree in Law from the University of Tromsø.

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Amina J. Mohammed 
Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations

Ms. Amina J. Mohammed is the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group.

Prior to her appointment, Ms. Mohammed served as Minister of Environment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria where she steered the country’s efforts on climate action and efforts to protect the natural environment.

Ms. Mohammed first joined the United Nations in 2012 as Special Adviser to former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with the responsibility for post-2015 development planning. She led the process that resulted in global agreement around the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals.  

Ms. Mohammed began her career working on the design of schools and clinics in Nigeria. She served as an advocate focused on increasing access to education and other social services, before moving into the public sector, where she rose to the position of adviser to three successive Presidents on poverty, public sector reform and sustainable development.

Ms. Mohammed has been conferred several honorary doctorates and has served as an adjunct professor, lecturing on international development. The recipient of various global awards, Ms Mohammed has served on numerous international advisory boards and panels. She is the mother of six children and has one grandchild.

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Filippo Grandi
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Filippo Grandi became the 11th United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on 1 January 2016. He was elected by the UN General Assembly to serve a five-year term, until 31 December 2020.  

As High Commissioner, he heads one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations. UNHCR has twice won the Nobel Peace Prize.  Its 15,000-strong workforce spans 128 countries providing protection and assistance to nearly 60 million refugees, returnees, internally displaced people and stateless persons. Some 88 per cent of UNHCR staff work in the field, often in difficult and dangerous duty stations. The organization's needs-based budget for 2019 is US$8.7 billion.  

Before being elected High Commissioner, Grandi had been engaged in international cooperation for over 30 years, focusing on refugee and humanitarian work. He served as Commissioner-General of the UN Agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, from 2010 to 2014, after having been the organization’s Deputy Commissioner-General since 2005. Prior to that, Grandi served as Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Afghanistan, following a long career first with NGOs and later with UNHCR in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and at the organization’s Geneva headquarters.  

Grandi was born in Milan in 1957. He holds a degree in modern history from the State University in Milan, a BA in Philosophy from the Gregorian University in Rome, as well as an honorary doctorate from the University of Coventry.  

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Prof. Johan Rockström

Prof. Johan Rockström
Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

Prof. Johan Rockström is Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Professor in Earth System Science at the University of Potsdam.

Rockström is an internationally recognized scientist on global sustainability issues, where he led the development of the new Planetary Boundaries framework for human development in the current era of rapid global change. He is a leading scientist on global water resources, with about 25 years of experience from applied water research in tropical regions, and more than 150 research publications in fields ranging from applied land and water management to global sustainability.

Aside from his research helping to guide policy, Rockström consults several governments and business networks. He also acts as an advisor for sustainable development issues at noteworthy international meetings, such as the World Economic Forum, the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conferences (UNFCCC). Supplementary, he chairs the advisory board for the EAT Foundation and the Earth League.

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Prof. Ottmar Edenhofer

Prof. Ottmar Edenhofer
Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

Prof. Ottmar Edenhofer is Director and Chief Economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research as well as Director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change and Professor of the Economics of Climate Change at the Technische Universität Berlin.

Edenhofer is a leading expert on the economics of climate change. His main research interests cover the impact of technological change on the costs and strategies of climate change mitigation, public finance, distributional effects of climate policy instruments, scientific policy advice and the science-policy-interface as well as inequality research. Edenhofer was pioneering in giving PIK a social science research agenda providing rigorous and meaningful information on climate change mitigation to society.

Ottmar Edenhofer’s research influences political decision making. His advice is sought on the ministerial and international political level such as the German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and the World Bank. Among his many obligations he is member of the German National Academy of Science and Engineering acatech as well as member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, Section Economics and Empirical Social Sciences. From 2008 to 2015 Edenhofer served as Co-Chair of Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and contributed heavily to the shaping of the Fifth Assessment Report on Climate Change Mitigation which provided the scientific basis for the Paris Agreement. Its analysis on the feasibility of the 2°C-target was groundbreaking and provided essential information for decision makers.    

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Janani Vivekanda 
Senior Advisor, adelphi

Janani Vivekananda is a Senior Advisor at adelphi, Berlin, where she leads research and programming on climate change and security. She holds an MSc in Violence, Conflict and Development and a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Oxford. With over fifteen years’ experience on climate change and peace, her interests lie in understanding complexities of climate and conflict risks from a local level and feeding these nuances into policy. Published widely on this topic, she is a lead author of the 2015 report "A New Climate for Peace", and the co-author of the 2007 study, “A Climate of Conflict: The Links Between Climate Change, Peace and War”. She is a founding board member of the Environmental Peace Building Association and a Trustee of architecture charity, AzuKo.

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Barbora Sedova
Co-Lead Future Lab - Security, Ethnic Conflicts and Migration, PIK

Barbora Sedova (co-)leads the FutureLab - Security, Ethnic Conflicts and Migration at PIK. In her work, she analyzes mechanisms of climate-related impacts on human migration, inequality and  conflict risk. The overarching goal of her research is to improve adaptation strategies that minimize welfare losses in a changing climate. In her research, she applies approaches from micro-econometrics, geospatial analysis, and systematic literature review.

Barbora is a Fellow at Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) in Berlin and a PhD candidate in Economics at the University of Potsdam. She holds a Master’s degree in Economics from Tilburg University and a Bachelor’s degree in Business, Economics and Social Sciences from the Vienna University of Economics and Business. Barbora has also held various research and advisory positions, namely at PricewaterhouseCoopers in the Netherlands, the Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic, German Bundestag and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. 

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Benjamin Pohl
Senior Project Manager, adelphi

Benjamin Pohl is Senior Project Manager at adelphi where he focuses on the impact of global environmental change on foreign, security and development policy. He is responsible for the topic areas foreign policy, diplomacy, and water cooperation and has been working for many years at the interface of peacebuilding and global sustainable development. Before joining adelphi, Benjamin Pohl worked as a desk officer at the German Foreign Office in the field of security policy. Subsequently, he researched and taught international relations, first at Leiden University and later at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. He earned his doctorate at Leiden University with a dissertation on European foreign policy.

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Christian König
Research Analyst, adelphi

Christian König is a Research Analyst at adelphi, working on the intersection of climate change, foreign policy, and security. His work in research is complemented by conducting regional dialogue formats on climate-security linkages as well as trainings for policy makers and practitioners. Christian holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science in Politics, International Studies and Global Sustainable Development from the University of Warwick and is a freelance rhetorics trainer and coach. 

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Patrick Youssef
Regional Director for Africa, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

Patrick Youssef joined the ICRC in 2005 and completed different missions in Sudan, Chad, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay. Between 2010 & 2013, he was the deputy head of operations for the Near and Middle East covering Yemen, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Gulf Cooperation Council. Mr. Youssef was the Head of the delegation in Iraq for more than 2 years, before taking the role of Deputy Regional Director for Africa, where he managed ICRC operations in the Maghreb, the Sahel region, the Lake Chad basin and West Africa.

In addition to his field experience, Mr. Youssef worked on specific topics related to the respect of International Humanitarian Law such as the treatment and judicial guarantees of persons deprived of freedom, the recruitment of children in armed forces and Transitional Justice. In January 2016, he was recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader. He sits in the International Council of Advisors of Global Dignity. Prior to joining the ICRC, Mr Youssef worked in the private sector in Lebanon & the Levant.

Born in 1978, Patrick Youssef has a bachelor’s degree in public law, a Master’s degree in Diplomacy and Strategic Negotiations from Paris Sud XI, an LLM in International Law in armed conflicts from Geneva University and a certificate of completion of an Executive Education on Global Leadership and Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School.

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Sabine Starke
Government Partnerships Officer, World Food Programme (WFP) Berlin

Sabine Starke joined the UN World Food Programme in 2012. She currently works as a Government Partnerships Officer at WFP Berlin and manages the partnership with Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein as government donors to WFP’s global programmes and operations. As regards specific thematic areas, she focuses on climate change related topics such as climate & security, anticipatory action and integrated risk management among other issues. Further positions held with WFP so far include: Donor Relations, Communications & Reporting Officer at WFP South Sudan during the 2017 famine response; Programme Officer Monitoring & Evaluation at WFP’s Regional Bureau in Panama covering Central & Latin America and the Caribbean.

From 2010 to 2012 Sabine Starke worked with UNHCR in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, first in the External Relations Division and then as an Associate Communications and Programme Officer focusing on the local integration of Burundian refugees as well as social cohesion projects between refugee and host communities.

Before joining the UN, Sabine Starke was employed with the Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany, as a project manager in the area of arts and media.

She holds a Master’s degree in „Applied Cultural Sciences“ from the Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany and is furthermore a trained journalist.

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Mehreen Afzal
Senior Policy Officer, UNHCR

Mehreen Afzal is a Senior Policy Officer with UNHCR New York Office, and previously with UNHCR in Bangladesh, Senegal, Rwanda, Kenya as well headquarters in Switzerland. She has a Ph.D in International Refugee Law from the European University Institute in Florence, Italy focusing on an expansion of the refugee definition using security discourse. She has also been a research scholar at Columbia University and University of Michigan. In New York her portfolios include refugee protection, international migration, climate change and rule of law. In 2017-2018 she was closely engaged in the development of the Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular Migration as well as the Global Compact on Refugees. In 2019, the focus was on UNHCR engagement on climate action in the lead up to the Secretary General's Climate Action Summit (2019). She is a member of the community of practice of UN agencies working on the nexus between climate change change and international peace and security. 



Ottilia Anna Maunganidze 
Head of Special Projects, Institute for Security Studies (ISS)

Ottilia Anna Maunganidze joined the Institute for Security Studies in 2009 and is currently Head of Special Projects in the office of the Executive Director. Before joining the ISS, Ms. Maunganidze was a junior legal adviser and human rights education officer. She explores new areas of work for the Institute for Security Studies and helps to inform institutional strategy. She has a Master of Laws degree in fundamental rights litigation and international human rights law from Unisa, a Post-Graduate Certificate from the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa at the University of Pretoria and a Bachelor of Laws degree and a Post-Graduate Diploma in International Studies from Rhodes University. Ottilia is passionate about human rights, peace, truth, stability and justice. Her work is all about promoting a peaceful and prosperous Africa.

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Chitra Nagarajan
Independent Conflict Researcher

Chitra Nagarajan focuses on civilian protection, climate change, conflict analysis and sensitivity, gender and social inclusion, peacebuilding, and human rights, particularly those of women and girls. She has worked across West Africa for over a decade. She led and coordinated all interviews in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria for Shoring Up Stability: Addressing Climate and Fragility Risks in the Lake Chad Region, the first ever climate security assessment of a specific region.

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Adriana Abdenur
Coordinator of the Peace & Security Division, Igarapé Institute

Adriana Abdenur is a Brazilian policy expert and coordinator of the International Peace and Security area at the Igarapé Institute, where she supervises projects on climate and security; migration and refuge; conflict mediation and prevention; and peace operations. Dr. Abdenur is a member of the Committee on Development Policy (CDP) of the UN’s ECOSOC and of the Expert Working Group on Climate-related Security Risks, invited by the German government to provide input the UN system on climate and security. She earned her Ph.D. from Princeton University and her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University.

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Oli Brown
Associate Fellow, Chatham House & the Geneva Centre for Security Policy; Senior advisor, TrustWorks Global

Oli Brown is Associate Fellow in the Energy, Environment and Resources department at Chatham House. He joined in August 2018, following an earlier stint as a fellow from 2012-14. Between 2014 and 2018, Oli Brown was based in Kenya, where he coordinated UN Environment’s work to minimise the risks and impacts of disasters, industrial accidents and armed conflicts. Between 2010 and 2012, he managed a UN Environment programme in Sierra Leone, before which he was a senior researcher and programme manager with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).

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Daniela Schwarzer
Director, German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)

Dr. Daniela Schwarzer is Director of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). She has been the director of DGAP since July 2017 and previously led DGAP’s Research Institute since November 2016. Schwarzer formerly served as the Senior Director of Research and Director of the Europe Program in the Berlin office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF). From 2005 to 2013, Schwarzer worked with the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). She headed the European Integration Division as of 2008 and also was a Senior Fellow from 2005 to 2008. From 1999 to 2005, she was editorialist and France correspondent of Financial Times Deutschland. She is a non-resident, senior research fellow at SAIS Johns Hopkins University and has taught at various international universities. Daniela Schwarzer is also a non-executive board member of BNP Paribas, the Institut Jacques Delors, and the Association United Europe.

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Alexander Carius
Managing Director, adelphi

Alexander Carius is founder and Managing Director of adelphi, the Berlin-based think tank. One of the leading consultants on environmental and development policy in Germany, he is in demand around the world as a speaker, facilitator, and advisor. He is a ground-breaking thinker, innovative designer, nimble strategist, and global influencer. He translates scientific insights into practical options for governments, non-governmental organizations, industry associations, and companies. He works with a diverse range of actors to develop, design, and implement international negotiations, agenda-setting processes, and consultations.

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