shortlist of topics In the second phase the topics for the Foundation s international work were narrowed down and presented to the Board of Trustees in the summer of 2019 When I joined the Foundation in 1993 I had 30 colleagues here Today we re more than 200 says Project Manager Claudia Fisches We ve seen especially strong growth in the past ten years For me it was the right time to reposition for the future For Claudia Fisches this meant pausing for a moment to reflect Our sphere of influence is more limited especially in autocratic structures For our project partners work is becom ing more difficult Ever more people working for civil society in these countries end up in prison Even though most states worldwide have favorable frameworks for philanthro py there is an increase in restrictions and regulations For many of the staff the impressions gained through discussions with local stakeholders were immensely valuable We gained a great deal of insight explains Fisches It s also about simply asking the person you re talking with How are you doing today On a research trip migration expert Raphaela Schweiger unearthed more than just new information but also won insights that could influence the development of the International Understanding and Cooperation funding area The Senior Project Manager traveled with other experts through Nigeria to research migra tion related foreign and development policy She spoke with figures from the worlds of politics and administra tion NGOs and international organi zations discovering as she calls it how things really are Exactly this was one of the trip s objectives to sharpen her view of the world Laura Bail has been with the Foundation for two years The Team Assistant was part of the Urbanization working group and through it came to understand new perspectives It s often simple things that can change your view Laura Bail says speaking about her experience at the World City Summit in Singapore For example that the mayor of a port city like Rotterdam can help a mayor in Bangladesh with his experience She also participated in a workshop at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research The experts were able to show how little progress has been made in researching the interplay of climate change migration and conflicts That amazed me Because these issues are very much dependent on one another Project Manager Thomas Henneberg was also on what he calls a learning journey He spent several days traveling through Israel and the Palestinian territories to talk to women s rights activists students political representatives and refugee workers Listening to him it becomes clear how profound the process was Everyday working life felt more and more like a think tank We took time to think about the global challenges that urgently need to be addressed beyond the current funding Senior Vice President Markus Lux speaks with energy in his voice when he talks about the transforma tion underway in philanthropy He mentions the dot com billionaires the new generation of heirs the major new initiatives operating with large sums of money and the new very different funding instruments The volume of philanthropy has almost doubled in the last ten years Today mega grants are awarded he says sums of more than 100 million euros for a single project As for the Foundation Markus Lux says it s a simple question one needs to ask Is what we re doing still the best we can do Lux led the Climate Change working group and participated in various other working groups Creating the new also meant letting go of the old All of the interna tional portfolio s projects would be terminated There were difficult sometimes very emotional conversa tions It was often painful for our partners And it was painful for me too because I had to relinquish most of my former responsibilities Markus Lux like all of his colleagues sought direct communication And if neces sary direct confrontation but the partners as he reports came to understand the decision and dealt with it constructively The transformation has been a part of the Foundation s day to day work in the area of international funding since 2018 I was hesitant at first remembers Senior Project Manager Clemens Spiess But he also experienced another side A very special dynamic developed through working together the learning journeys and exchanges It energized the whole Foundation For him the realignment has created a solid foundation I think that in the future we ll be able to respond faster and more appropriately to the world Antonia Röhm adds I haven t studied that intensively since I was in college The best experience however was witnessing all the networks and contacts the Foundation has We got to know each other much better and we now work more closely together The new beginning is here I haven t studied that intensively since I was in college Antonia Röhm 39THE MAGAZINE 2 19

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