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Illustration "Team"
Ellen Heinrichs, Gründerin und Geschäftsführerin des Bonn INstitute

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. Ellen is a speaker, mediator, agile culture coach and solutions journalism trainer.


Peter Lindner

Head of Projects and Research

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. Democracy, dialogue and innovation in journalism are also his focus areas at the Bonn Institute. He studied political science, sociology and psychology in Munich and Bradford, UK.

Foto von Donata von Below Ritter

Donata v. Below-Ritter

Office Manager

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.

Foto von Lisa Urlbauer

Lisa Urlbauer

Head of Journalism Training

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 heads the Bonn Institute's journalism training programs and events and is an expert for local and climate journalism.

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.


Paula Rösler

Head of Communication

Paula Rösler is interested in what moves people and what people are moving. As an independent journalist, she managed the digital community of German broadcaster WDR 2, hosted the news podcast "Aufwacher" for the German paper "Rheinische Post", and worked as an editor and author for German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle. She first studied sport sciences in Cologne and Lyon, and then moved to Aarhus and Amsterdam for the Erasmus Mundus Master's program "Journalism, Media and Globalization". At the Bonn Institute, Paula Rösler oversees the b° Newsletter and is the contact person for our b° Community - write to her!

Claudia Isabel Rittel

Claudia Isabel Rittel

Senior Consultant Projects & Research

Claudia Isabel Rittel worked for over ten years at the German national daily Frankfurter Rundschau. There, she assumed different roles in the regional editorial team. In the add-on master’s program New Media Journalism at Leipzig School of Media, from 2018 to 2021, the political scientist dealt with many of the challenges journalism faces today. As editorial developer at Mediengruppe VRM, she was engaged intensively in user needs and audience data and worked on a publication schedule aligned to users’ needs for several regional papers. Her perspective of the world has been shaped by an Atlantic-crossing in a sailing boat, her appreciation of our democracy by experiences in her birth-country Colombia.


Markus Beckedahl

Curator b° future festival

Markus Beckedahl founded netzpolitik.org 20 years ago and, as editor-in-chief, built it into one of the largest public interest-oriented independent media. He co-founded the re:publica conference and has curated the annual program since its inception. For over 25 years, Markus Beckedahl has been observing, analyzing and explaining how the internet and key digital technological developments are shaping our societies, cultural practices, the media world and political decisions. In doing so, he has played a key role in shaping a new field of politics: digital and net politics. Together with the Bonn Institute, he has been developing and curating the b future festival for journalism and critical dialog since 2023.

Sham Jaff

Senior Consultant Projects & Research

Sham Jaff likes it simple, clear-cut and international. For nearly a decade, the political scientist and journalist has been writing the newsletter "what happened last week". It curates the news, focusing on topics and perspectives from the Global South, which are often overlooked in the Western media landscape. Her podcast "190220 – Ein Jahr nach Hanau" (engl: 190220 - A Year After Hanau) was honored with the Grimme Online Award and her podcast "Wir schaffen das – Ein Satz, der Deutschland veränderte" (engl: We Can Do It - A Sentence that Changed Germany) was nominated for the CIVIS Audio prize. In 2021, Jaff was recognized by the German government as a "Culture and Creative Pilot in Germany". At the Bonn Institute she will bring her journalistic expertise and perspectives to research projects and more.

Foto von Prof. Dr. Katja Ehrenberg

Katja Ehrenberg

Advisor 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

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