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IFIAS Board Members:


Gerd Greune
gerd@ifias.eu / gerd@internews.fr

The right to conscientious objection was Gerd Greune's first political
issue, developing into a general involvement in the German and international
Peace movement and campaigning agains the stationing of nuclear weapons in
Europe and nuclear arms in general. From 1986-1997 he worked as a political
advisor to the Executive Board of the Social-Democratic Party of Germany. He
has founded IFIAS Brussels in 1997. His interests are particularly Human
Rights, Freedom of Media, anti-militarisation and conflict resolution. As
President of IFIAS, he represents the organisation and is responsible
together with the Board for the general directions of IFIAS projects.

Jelena von Helldorff

Vice Presidentin

Jelena von Helldorff is a lawyer specialised in European policy and
international relations. Her professional development has been closely
linked to the EU institutions and policies, especially in the field of
migration, governance, EU external relations, development, human rights and financial services. In the last couple of years she has specialised in policy advising mainly in the area of Justice and Home affairs, including trafficking in human beings and the protection of victims, fundamental rights, intergration of migrants, visa, border control and the fight against terrorism. The geographical scope of her activities also extends to the countries in transition and those aspiring to join the European Union, notably in the area of South East

Kostyantin Kvurt
Vice President

Kostyantin Kvurt uses his vast media experience to develop training, production andadvocacy programs for Ukrainian independent broadcast media professionals.Kostyantin Kvurt is highly respected as a media expert and is a member of thePresident's National Commission for Freedom of Speech and Development of the Information Sphere, and the Verkhovna Rada Public Council for Freedom of Speech and Information. He has lobbied hard for fair media laws and legislation that support the development of independent media in Ukraine. As Vice-President of IFIAS he is responsible for programming and administration of projects in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova.

Mazen Darwich
Vice President

Mazen Darwich graduated in Law and has been working as a Human Rights
activist and free lance journalist for many years. He has funded the Syrian
Center for Journalism and Freedom of Speech in Damascus. As Vice-President
he is responsible for Programming and Administration in the Mashreq region
and South East Anatolia.

Farid Ghrich
Vice President

Farid Ghrich studied human sciences, journalism and international relations
in Louvain-la-Neuve, Brussels and Granada (Spain). He has been working as
journalist for Belgian and European publications and news agencies on
international questions, cultural issues and social matters. He also has
experience working for the European Commission (DG AIDCO), managing
macro-economical reforms programs and structural adjustment plans in the
Mediterranean region. After some time as advisor for NATO he now works as a
freelance journalist and project manager in Rabat. In IFIAS he is
responsible for programming and managing of projects in the Maghreb region
and West-Africa.

Walter Vermander

Walter Vermander studied international politics and criminology at the
Brussels Free University. Before joining the Belgian Ministry of Finance in
1992, he used to work as a consultant for different environment and
development NGOs. During the last decades he gained extensive travel
experience in the whole of eastern-and central Europe and the Amazon region.
His main interest in the NGO field is to find specific ways to get mostly
small organisations with limited human and financial resources functioning.
Besides supervising IFIAS finance, he is responsible for drafting and
managing projects in Latin America.

Further Board members:

Jo Leinen

MEP Jo Leinen supports IFIAS since the beginning. He has been campaigning
together with Gerd Greune already in the 80s against the stationing of
nuclear weapons in Europe and is a strong supporter of a nuclear-weapon-free
Europe. He also very much supports civil society initiatives and is Chairman of the Constitutional Committee in the European Parliament and affiliated member of the Sub-Committee for Human Rights."
Ferhat Cato
President IFIAS Germany

Ferhat Cato (51) became an IFIAS member during the war in former Yugoslavia when he organized humanitarian aid. In his youth he was active in the international socialist movement in more than 50 countries.
Cato is the Chairman of the Union and the Socialdemocratic party locally where he resides.
He is the Honorary Judge at the Court of Labour and the Social Court in Koblenz, as well as the Financial Court of the Rheinland-Pfalz county.

Susanne Drake


Susanne Drake was a co-funder of Ifias in 1997. She worked as Director of the organisation until 2008. Since 2011 she has taken a new position in the administrative board and is in charge of cultural projects. Her main interest are projects about contemporary art, preservation of monuments, literature of minority languages, blogging and journalism.

Belma Arnautović


From Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, completed her M.A. in Economics, specializing in Human Resource Management, a few months ago. 4 years of professional work experience in the field of office administration, a.o. as Administrative Officer for the Microcredit foundation “Women for Women International”, High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the publishing company "Amos-Graf" Sarajevo. She follows the activities of the Institute for International Assistance and Solidarity (IFIAS) for almost 20 years. During the war in B&H (Sarajevo 1992- 1995) IFIAS has organized transport of humanitarian aid to refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina in Croatia as well as to suffering people in Sarajevo, Mostar and other cities in B&H. IFIAS has helped her and her family flee to Germany. Now, she is the new consultant and part of the IFIAS in Brussels.

Maha Al Aswad


Maha Al Aswad (26) Egyptian writer, researcher and poet. She writes, speaks and trains on human rights. She blogs at http://mahaalaswad.wordpress.com. Maha is a MA candidate in International Human Rights Law at the American University in Cairo. She was a teaching assistant in MSA University for two years before she quit to work for different human rights causes with several organizations in Egypt including: gender equality, freedom of expression, right to fair trial and human rights education. Maha founded a group defending and advocating for freedom of expression in Egypt under the name "Hanetkalem" which means “We Will Speak Up” - http://hanetkalem.wordpress.com/.

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