Thinking global, living local: Voices in a globalized world

About the golab activist network FutureChallenges

Who we are and what we stand for is a global activist network  under the umbrella of the registered NGO Future Challenges e.V. who aim to show the human dimensions of globalisation – a topic which is usually couched in abstract economic terms like volumes of trade and flows of commerce and finance instead of the impact on people all over the world. It was originally founded and financed by the Bertelsmann Stiftung in Germany.

We believe that people must first understand what globalisation and human rights mean before they can act as consumers, producers or political actors to influence the course of developments. Only with an informed understanding of the forces of our globalised world can people bring their ideals to bear on shaping its course.

The FutureChallenges Team at the Regional Editor’s Workshop in St. Peter Ording (Germany)/ 2013

The FutureChallenges Team at the Regional Editor’s Workshop in St. Peter Ording (Germany)/ 2013

What you can expect   

At Future Challenges we do not propose facile ready-made solutions; we rather engage with the considerable resources of our platform to push for collaborative joined-up efforts in tackling the challenges the future holds and to secure human rights in every country our bloggers are based in. The people active on our platform are all driven by their desire to make the world in all its diversity a more understandable – and thus a better – place.

What we offer potential supporters, funders and collaboration partners

Over the years has matured an effective editorial process within a professional worldwide network. Maintenance of a network on such a high level of professionalism requires long-term financial and structural resources and this is why the Future Challenges Team is looking for prospective backers and collaboration as well as cooperation partners. In return, what we offer you is:

  • An established international and highly coordinated network of economically and politically savvy bloggers and activists
  • Proven experience with state-of-the-art and online-based methods of communication, collaboration and event organisation
  • Access to key global players in academia and the non-profit sector dealing with globalisation issues and future challenges
  • Insights on issues all over the world that you usually won’t get from mainstream news
  • All the benefits of an enterprising and experienced media and content partner. Future Challenges and FC bloggers are highly active on social media and have a strong grasp of the opportunities these new channels afford. Our bloggers can help raise the profile of your event and make it resonate in the Future Challenges community and far beyond
GES Bloggers at Work

Future Challenges’ Bloggers at Work during the Global Economic Symposium.

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The Team

The Team of Future Challenges e.V.

Linda Walter

Chairwoman of Future Challenges e.V., Human Rights Community, Verification
   Linda WalterLinda co-founded and is currently working as a research assistant at European-University Viadrina and is writing her PhD about the impact of the internet on the understanding of human rights. Linda holds a B.A. in Philosophy and a M.A. in European Studies. She’s been volunteering for Amnesty International and gained experiences in the German Federal Foreign Office, SAP and ECFR. At IV Linda is mainly working on the connection to the human rights community.  ”  Twitter: @Lindanbaum      

Mario Wiedemann

Chairman of Future Challenges e.V., Online Community/Social Media Management & Editing
Mario SorgallaMario works as a freelance Social Media Consultant and Online Editor on various projects. He completed an internship at the Bertelsmann Stiftung back in 2011 and has been working with ever since. Mario is author/translator with the international blogger network Global Voices and the founder of the Social Media Sprechstunde Köln. At the University of Bonn he studied Political Science, Modern History and Media Science. Today he lives in Köln.  Twitter: @mariosorg 

Eike Leonhardt

Chairman of Future Challenges e.V., Product Development and Communication
Eike Christian LeonhardtEike co-founded and currently lives in Hamburg, Germany. Within IV, he focuses on matters of product design and communications. He studied Political Science, German Arts and Literature and Media-Science and currently works for Sinner and Schrader, exploring the future of technology, marketing and advertising and its interaction with society. Not long ago, he lived and worked in Brazil for some time where he volunteered in a social project and thus made a connection to the country.  

Ole Wintermann

Strategic Partnerships
Ole has studied economics and political science in Gothenburg, Kiel and Greifswald. He joined the Bertelsmann Stiftung in 2002. After having been engaged in demographic issues he initiatied the idea of in order to address global interdependencies as a future topic. Ole is also engaged in Internet & Society Collaboratory and as a blogger on his personal blog as well as on"When developing, I became more and more aware of what an amazing environment the Internet is. With its decentralized structure and self-organizing capability, it poses an on-going challenge to existing processes, eternal truths and well-defined structures."  Twitter: @olewin Blog: Globaler Wandel  

Isabel Gahren

Strategic Partnerships, Press & Communication
Isabel GahrenIsabel is co-founder of and Future Challenges e.V. She is a multimedia journalist (TV, print, web) and has been a director/ filmmaker for Arte TV and other channels. She studied literature & political science (B.A.) in Hamburg and visual anthropology (M.A.) in Barcelona. After working for several production companies she decided to switch from television to new media. Her work at the initiative on ‘human rights and internet’ revolved around the question of how the internet could enforce human rights. This initiative was conducted via the ‘Internet and Society Collaboratory’, of which she was the project manager. This work at Collaboratory led to the foundation of IV. Currently she is project management assistant to M100 Sanssouci Colloquium and coordinates the M100 Young European Journalists workshop in cooperation with the Federa Foreign Office, Reporters without Borders and the European Youth Peess. At FC Isabel is responsible for strategic partnerships, communication and public relations. ”  Twitter: @isacita  

Nicole Kleimann

Event Management & Blogger Relations
Nicole KleimannNicole is a highly experienced management assistant and is currently working as project assistant in the Bertelsmann Stiftung. She has been with the Futurechallenges project ever since it started in 2010. She is volunteering for Good Hope Centre e.V. and responsible for the social media presence of the association.   Twitter: @nk2804  Blog: Just one Thought    

Daniel Roth

Social Media & Editing
Daniel RothDaniel holds a Bachelor degree in Political Science and Public Law from Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg. He is currently working for the city government in Biberach, Germany. His task fields contain public relations and administrative law. Daniel completed an internship at the Bertelsmann Foundation in 2013 and has been working for ever since. He gained practical and international work experience by working for a Ugandan development organization.  Twitter: @DanielRo25 

Jens Wiechers

Jens Wiechers Jens has a diverse background from studying, first, computer science, physics and philosophy at the University of Cologne, followed by communication sciences, economics and political sciences at Zeppelin University and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, with research visits/internships at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development (studying behavioural changes in decision making due to ageing) and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (studying the health of seagrasses). He currently serves on the Board of Mensa Germany and Mensa International and has been pushing for the High IQ Society to take its cause, to foster intelligence for the benefit of mankind, more seriously and to rise beyond being a social club. He has also been very active in the cryptocurrency space and his NGO Kryptos explores how to use them to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.

At, he has been our Sysadmin since early 2014. In this role, he makes sure that the lights stay on and everything runs smoothly. He and his company also sponsor the four servers which serve all content and handle background services as well as some software licenses and services used on our site.

Regional Editors

Flávio Bezerra

Regional Editor for Brazil

Flavio Profile Picture 220x200

Flávio is a technology-addicted Brazilian experience designer. He has a BA in Visual Communication from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and he is currently finishing a master’s degree in Communication Arts with a focus on user experience, design thinking and new media at the University of Arts in Braunschweig, Germany. Flávio came to Future Challenges through the Global Economic Symposium, where he worked as editor helping to establish a stronger network there. His work focuses on a social approach to design, and he has a strong interest in the sustainable development of cities and society.

“Future Challenges means for me a single chance to keep in touch with amazing people from the whole world, helping me to understand better the impact of globalization in different parts of the world and how it’s re-shaping cultures and society. FC is a unique opportunity to get different points of view about the real issues of our collective development.”

Twitter: @lbflavio


Mubatsi Asinja Habati

Regional Editor for Africa

Mubatsi AsinjaMubatsi Asinja Habati is a Ugandan journalist and blogger with experience in print, broadcast (television) and online media. Mubatsi is interested in governance, human rights and environment related issues.

"The Internet is a border-less space for everyone to share and express their opinions. I like Future Challenges’ global outlook that uses the internet as a platform to amplify our voices in a bid to cause change."

Twitter: @Asinja

Blog: Mubatsi's Thoughts


Jacinta Escudos

Regional Editor for Latin America

Fiction writer and blogger from El Salvador, with 8 published books  and  an op-ed column inJacinta Escudos La Prensa Gráfica. Her main interests are how politics and prejudice affect individuals and their roles in society, literature and culture, memory preservartion, migrations, climate change and natural resources. Jacinta is blogging since  2005 and active on Twitter and Facebook since 2009.

I started blogging for Future Challenges in 2010. The web is a privileged space to communicate and share opinions and solutions to our global problems. In that sense, Future Challenges allows a platform to share these discussions with people worldwide from the perspective of the megatrends.

Twitter: @jacintario

Blog: jacintario


Neelam Melwani

Regional Editor for Latin America

Neelam Melwani Neelam Melwani is an experienced writer and researcher who recently completed her Master's in Globalization and Development Studies at Maastricht University. She currently resides in her home country, Curacao, where she hopes to become more involved in public institutions. She recently became inducted as a Youth Leader for a UNDP project on the island. Prior to this, Neelam worked at the UNU Headquarters in Tokyo as a Junior Fellow. Neelam is interested in examining the roots of conflicts and discrepancies between socio-economic classes, particularly in light of opportunities, education, and healthcare.

I started writing for FutureChallenges in 2012. FutureChallenges has given me the opportunity to put Curacao on the map and connect with other bloggers in the region and around the world. I think FutureChallenges is a unique platform that encourages young people to present issues in a concise and clear manner, engage in discussions that matter, and start building ideas for the future.

Twitter: @neelamelwani


Lourdes Gomez

Regional Editor for Australia – Pacific

Graduated from Griffith University with a Bachelor of International Relations. Currently completing a Master of International Studies from University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. She is the Editor and Creator of social change publications, The Earthworm ( and First Voices ( She works as a digital communications and social media manager and for Bridging The Divide ( Professionally, Lourdes specialises in Peace and Conflict studies and has an interest in communication for social change, international development, peace and citizen journalism and environmental justice.

FutureChallenges caught my interest because of its rationale; to analyse the correlations between the global trends and how they shape and re-define our world. In my opinion, politics has for too long focussed on the singularity of phenomena and FutureChallenges poses a unique challenge to mainstream political thought.

Twitter: @theearthwormorg

Blog: The Earthworm


M. Farhan Janjua

Regional Editor Middle East

Farhan JanjuaAn award winning blogger and emerging new media journalist with a passion to become an icon one day. Farhan is also an entrepreneur, running his own software company, and a social activist; having worked with many youth organizations. has given me the opportunity to live my dreams while I am still struggling. An opportunity to know and interact with other amazing bloggers from across the world and to keep an eye on the emerging global trends which are so inter-linked to each other.

Twitter: @FarhanJanjua




Usama Khilji

Regional Editor Middle East

Usama KhiljiUsama Khilji is an activist, trainer, and development consultant based in Islamabad, Pakistan. His work is focused on education and human rights, and he has documented lives of civilian victims of drone attacks in Pakistan. Khilji has represented Pakistan as a young cultural ambassador in the U.S., Russia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, and Afghanistan, and spoke at the UN Headquarters in 2013 on how cultural barriers can be overcome by young migrants. He is also a regular commentator on Pakistan in the international media. He holds a degree in Politics and International Relations from the University of London.

Twitter: @UsamaKhilji


Anuja Upadhyay

Regional Editor for Asia

Anuja Upadhyay

Anuja is a Nepalese social scientist and writer with development experience in organizations like UN Women, Manushi for Sustainable Development and International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN) across India and Nepal. She is currently based in New Delhi, India. Her main areas of work are on gender equity, violence against women and children, anti-human trafficking of women, girls (including children), sustainable development, health and other critical global issues like governance, migration and economic globalization. She has special interest and expertise in writing about diverse community development issues.

It feels good to be involved with Future Challenges which gives experts and non experts from all over the world the opportunity for discussions and sharing on a wide range of the crucial global issues. It provides me the chance to voice my opinions and correlate interesting trends such as demographic change, technology, health or education. I also enjoy interacting with people of multiple cultures. And I am amazed at what a remarkable tool the internet can be. I am learning something new every day!

Twitter: @anujaupadhyay



Erin Schutte

Regional Editor for North America

Erin is a Woodbridge Fellow in the Yale Office of International Affairs and currently serves as the Assistant Director of the Yale Young Global Scholars Program, a summer program for outstanding high school students from around the world. Erin graduated from Yale with a degree in political science. While a student, she represented the island nation of Seychelles at United Nations negotiations on sustainable development and climate change and later held an internship at the U.S. Department of State. She is Director Emeritus of Global21, a partner organization of FutureChallenges.

FutureChallenges is a unique forum for international exchange on the important issues of our future generations. As a outspoken advocate for using online media as a method to address and conquer the world’s increasing challenges, I see fc_org at the forefront of exploring innovative solutions to timely global affairs.


Jamie Stark

Regional Editor for North America

Jamie Stark

Jamie Stark is an American freelancer and writer, traveling north through Central America, writing for FutureChallenges as he goes. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2012 with a dual degree in journalism and political science. He has written on everything from the future of religion to the real economic effect of startup entrepreneurism. Jamie researches and writes about the next generation of leaders in his collaborative blog as well as his personal blog.

FutureChallenges is a space to observe the world as it is and propose solutions from a fresh perspective. This site is an invaluable space for truth-seeking and cross-border discussion. I hope to continue adding the Millennial perspective to for more balanced representation in the modern media sphere.


Dragos C. Costache

Regional Editor for Central and Eastern Europe

Corina Murafa

Dragos is a Romanian writer with a background in social sciences. He has been interested in politics, development issues, equality and international relations for most of his adult life. While in highschool he was part of a winning team in a prestigious NATO-organized international competition that sparked his interest in political and social sciences. He graduated from The Faculty of Political Sciences at Bucharest University after a research stint in Cameroon and has worked as a freelance writer and in Marketing. Currently he is doing research on Romanian Migrants in Northern Europe as part of his Master’s thesis in Minority and Ethnic Studies at the University of Amsterdam. He is quite fond of the idea of classical liberalism and a United Europe and has written on these subjects extensively, most recently while covering the 2013 Global Economic Symposium for Future Challenges.

Twitter: @tsavatar


Lisa Henke

Regional Editor for Western Europe

Lisa Henke

Lisa has just taken her Bachelor’s degree in Corporate Management & Economics at Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen, Germany. With her minor in Communications & Cultural Management and classes in Public Management & Governance, she enjoys exploring the interface of economics, culture and politics.

For me, FutureChallenges is a place where young people from all over the world have the opportunity to express their experiences and opinions and tell their personal stories about the crucial topics of our time. What’s more, the variety of perspectives offered by FutureChallenges enables you to get a much more differentiated view of whatever topic is being discussed.


Angelo Boccato

Regional Editor for Western Europe

Angelo Boccato

An Italian Labour Studies graduate, professional blogger and journalist, writing for some online publications both in Italian and in English. Areas of interest? European affairs, geopolitics, economics, finance, welfare, labour issues, social movements and many others. Currently based in London in order to find my place in the city’s busy media industry.

Twitter: Ang_Bok

Blog: Free Park Corner

Strategic Partners

The Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation's mission to promote the well-being of people throughout the world has remained unchanged since its founding in 1913. Today, that mission is applied to an era of rapid globalization. Our vision is that this century will be one in which globalization's benefits are more widely shared and its challenges are more easily weathered. To realize this vision, the Foundation seeks to achieve two fundamental goals in our work. First, we seek to build resilience that enhances individual, community and institutional capacity to survive, adapt, and grow in the face of acute crises and chronic stresses. Second, we seek to promote growth with equity in which the poor and vulnerable have more access to opportunities that improve their lives. In order to achieve these goals, the Foundation constructs its work into time-bound initiatives that have defined objectives and strategies for impact. These initiatives address challenges that lie either within or at the intersections of five issue areas: basic survival safeguards, global health, environment and climate change, urbanization, and social and economic security. For more information, please visit

Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)

The Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) is one of the major centers for research in global economic affairs, economic policy advice and economic education. The Institute regards research into potentially innovative solutions to urgent problems of the world economy as its main task. On the basis of this research work, it advises decisiontakers in politics, the economy and society, and keeps the interested public informed on important matters of economic policy.

The Global Economic Symposium (GES)

The Global Economic Symposium (GES) is an annual event held by the IFW and Bertelsmann Stiftung. It aims to provide a new collaborative setting to analyze the worldís most important economic problems, create shared visions of the future and formulate innovative strategies to achieve these visions. The GES thereby seeks to be a catalyst for future change. In particular, the GES seeks to initiate a strategic dialogue on global economic affairs for leading policy makers, business executives, academics and other representatives of civil communities. Such a dialogue is needed as a response to the challenges of an increasingly interdependent world. Policy making and business decisions need to take into account the changing policy and business environment. The GES provides a forum to think globally about global problems. The GES aims to build communities to come up with practical solutions that contribute to the global public interest.

Global Economic Student Association (GESA)

The Global Economic Student Association (GESA) is a new initiative aiming to involve the young generation in the solution seeking process of the Global Economic Symposium (GES). It provides new blood to the GES Community, helping the GES gain access to insightful, talented young people who can be expected to drive global problem-solving initiatives forward in the future. Since the GES is committed to finding concrete proposals to create a more prosperous, fairer and securer world for the next generation, the Student Association is an integral part of the GES aspiration. The GESA provides an exceptional framework for students, who want to engage in global problem solving. They can make a real difference and distinguish themselves by presenting their ideas to a global community of leading decision-makers. In the long run, the GESA will become a catalyst for concrete change and an integral part of the GES Community. It provides a unique opportunity for bright students to present their ideas and to develop innovative solutions to current global challenges.

Knowledge Partners


Global21 is a student-run network of international affairs publications. The network is a practical tool for creating dialogue that promotes greater international cooperation and understanding among university students around the world. Through article exchanges, continental conferences, and Global21's blog The Perspectivist, Global21 helps high-achieving students hone the skills necessary to excel in fields of journalism, business, non-profit, and government work, with the hope that they will graduate from their university with the drive and ability to tackle global issues themselves. Global21 currently consists of fourteen magazines in eleven countries, specifically located at Yale University, University of Toronto, Institut de Sciences Politiques Paris, Hebrew University, University of Cape Town, Peking University, Sydney University, University of South Australia, the London School of Economics and Political Science, Ibmec University in Rio de Janeiro, University of Oxford, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, Tec de Monterrey, and University of Zurich.