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Illustration "Team"

Ellen Heinrichs

Founder & CEO, Bonn Institute

Ellen Heinrichs began her career at the regional newspaper Rheinische Post and came to Germany's foreign broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) via positions at international organisations. A trained journalist, she first helped establish the DW Akademie and then drove digitalisation in DW's programming. She helped found the internal network DW Minds and the DW Innovation Lab. She was the first German to be a fellow at the Constructive Institute at Aarhus University in Denmark. Heinrichs is a speaker, Agile Culture Coach and Solutions Journalism Trainer. She is currently training to become a certified mediator.

Alex Saengerlaub schaut freundlich in die Kamera

Alexander Sängerlaub

Head of Future of Journalism

Well-informed societies are Alexander Sängerlaub's idea of utopia. In 2014 he founded Kater Demos, Germany's first constructive political magazine, serving as its director and editor in chief. At Stiftung Neue Verantwortung, a Berlin-based think tank, Sängerlaub developed the organisation's expertise on strengthening the digital public sphere while also leading projects on disinformation and digital news literacy. As director of the think-and-do tank futur eins, he advises non-governmental organisations, foundations and policymakers on the structural changes caused by digitalisation. Additionally, Sängerlaub has served as an external expert in the German Parliament's committee on digital affairs.

alex.saengerlaub@bonn-institute.org futur eins

Peter Lindner

Head of Democracy, Journalism and Innovation

Peter Lindner worked at the German national daily Süddeutsche Zeitung for a long time, spending almost 12 years as head of the politics section and more than six years as deputy editor-in-chief of SZ.de. He worked intensively on new approaches in journalism and developed several digital formats and projects, such as the SZ discussion project "Werkstatt Demokratie" (democracy workshop). Most recently, he worked on the "Listen Louder Project" at the Constructive Institute, housed at Denmark's University of Aarhus, where he researched approaches to how journalism can promote constructive dialogue in society. He studied political science, sociology and psychology in Munich and Bradford, UK.

Foto von Donata von Below Ritter

Donata v. Below-Ritter

Communication & Events

Constructive communication is what Donata von Below-Ritter is all about: She studied theatre and media at the University of Bayreuth, as well as international media studies at Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences and the DW Akademie in Bonn. She gained experiences both in front of and behind the camera and provided copywriting at the international agency Ogilvy & Mather in Dusseldorf. Von Below-Ritter also has served in editorial capacities for the Rheinische Post newspaper and German TV station Phoenix. She currently manages the Bonn Institute's internal and external communications and is always looking at the world with diverse perspectives.


Lilly Amankwah


Lilly Amankwah likes to ask questions, both of herself and others. As a journalist and podcast host, she is interested in our societies' big topics, including from a social sciences perspective thanks to her studies in this area. For Lilly, it's important to be aware of diverse perspectives, especially those that are rarely given attention or even oftentimes entirely overlooked. At the Bonn Institute, the journalist not only asks questions but also looks for solutions.

Foto von Lisa Urlbauer

Lisa Urlbauer

Journalism Training Coordinator

For Lisa Urlbauer, nothing beats constructive journalism. Following stints in Aarhus, Amsterdam, Valencia and New York, she joined the Bremen daily newspaper Weser-Kurier as a journalism trainee. She spent two years working for the Solutions Journalism Network in New York and Germany and has promoted the uptake of solutions-oriented journalism in Europe ever since. Her efforts to spread the practice earned her the Grow Fellowship from Netzwerk Recherche, a German non-profit dedicated to strengthening quality journalism. Lisa Urlbauer coordinates the Bonn Institute's journalism training programs and events and is an expert für local journalism.

Foto von Prof. Dr. Katja Ehrenberg

Katja Ehrenberg

Skillsharing & Methods

Katja Ehrenberg is passionate about the intersection of theory and practice. An expert in solutions-oriented communication, she's interested in what inspires human development. At age 35 she was invited to become a professor of business and media at the Hochschule Fresenius, an applied sciences university in Cologne, where she also helped design the school's psychology program. Ehrenberg, who has a doctorate in psychology, has authored numerous publications in her field and worked as a freelance organisational consultant for a diverse range of companies.

katja.ehrenberg@bonn-institute.org Katja Ehrenberg
Jens Niggemann lächelt in die Kamera

Jens Niggemann

Business Manager

When it comes to expenses, Jens Niggemann is an expert. Before joining the Bonn Institute, Niggemann managed finances for the Deutscher Volkshochschul-Verband (Association of German Adult Education Centres) in Bonn. He also served as a long-term advisor for Agiamondo, a Catholic development organisation dedicated to supporting civil society worldwide. In addition to business administration skills, Niggemann brings a wealth of cross-cultural knowledge and extensive experience working with diverse sponsors to the Bonn Institute.

Chiara Swenson

Chiara Swenson


The courage to embrace change – this is what Chiara Swenson would like to find more of in the journalism sector. That's why she is focusing her master's in journalism and communication science on transformative working journalists, their role perceptions and their expectations. She is particularly interested in constructive climate reporting. Chiara also has experience in designing and producing non-fictional audio-visual content. In her spare time, she works on creative projects and manages communication for a queer-feminist collective in Leipzig.

Ein Bild von Cristina Burack

Cristina Burack

English Editor

As a writer, editor and translator, Cristina Burack loves to inhabit the space between cultures and languages. She is fascinated by intercultural knowledge transfer and believes we can all benefit by seeing and sharing differences. In addition to the Bonn Institute, she also works for Deutsche Welle (DW) as a journalist. Cristina studied classical music and history in the United States and European Studies in London. Her previous professional stops include a London-based international PR agency and the Berlin office of a German parliamentarian.


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