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Read what we stand for
and meet the people behind

Vision & Mission

We believe that the foundation for a peaceful and just future is to build actions on equal partnerships. This includes respect for diverse ways of life and appreciation of manifold positive social and cultural expressions, practices and solutions globally.

Our Vision

We strive for a world in which people experience good mental wellbeing, live in peaceful communities and in balance with the natural environment.


Our Mission

We support communities in reaching a sustainable and peaceful way of functioning through mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), social cohesion (SC) and adaptation to climate change (ACC).

Our work feeds into the achievement of the sustainable development goals defined by the United Nations. They aim to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice and tackle climate change by 2030.

We consider development as a holistic process and our work links to all 17 goals. Our core focus and area of expertise is Good Health and Well-being (3), Climate Action (13) and Peace, Justice and strong Institutions  (16). Our actions further target No Poverty (1), Gender Equality (5), Affordable and Clean Energy (7) and Sustainable Cities and Communities (11).

The Team

We have come together with our different backgrounds and interests, but inspired by a common vision of a sustainable and just global community. We are involved in development work, research and activism and have long-standing experience in a wide range of non-governmental organizations, UN agencies and research institutions. Our aim is to decentralize debate and action, strengthen horizontal lines of communication and promote genuine cooperation in all our projects.
From left: Tidian, Lena, Mariami, Maria, Farah, Tim, Boris

Dr. Lena Schmid

Managing Director
I believe in the power of co-operation, mutual support and the integration of the knowledge, skills and resources of all stakeholders to achieve sustainable impact and real change. I am a psychologist and after gaining experience at an university and psychiatric clinic in Germany for a few years, I worked for various international NGOs and the UN in the United Stats, Egypt, Iraq and South Sudan. I have designed, managed and evaluated implementations of humanitarian interventions in challenging contexts. My responsibilities at Hudara include representation, vision and strategy, organizational management, program design and fundraising. In addition, I am in charge of the development of interventions for mental health and peaceful coexistence in equal partnership with people in different contexts and based on the community-based approach. I am particularly interested in interrelations and interactions between cultural processes, social connectedness, well-being and peaceful social life.

Prof. Dr. Boris Heinz

Head of Programme
I pursue an integrated approach of climate protection, environmental policies and development and build my vision over the past 10 years while working at the UN and research institutions in humanitarian and developmental projects in various countries.
Currently I am an active founding member of the Environmental Peacebuilding Association and Professor of Community Energy and Adaptation to Climate Change at Berlin Institute of Technology (Technische Universität Berlin). I am particularly interested in the interrelatedness of climate change impacts with community functioning and peaceful social life.

Farah Barakat

Research Assistant
I am interested in feminism and its application in Arab communities, through research, writing and archiving. In my work I take a closer look into gender and sexuality in the Arab region mostly exploring laws, legitimacy, language and literature in those contexts. I have experience in working with NGOs in Alexandria, Egypt, mostly in the art scene - Gudran Association for Arts and Development and Rezodanse Egypte. In 2017, and 2018 I have acquired two fellowships in the University of Amsterdam focusing on Gender and Sexuality. Currently, I am enrolled in a masters program at Potsdam University. For Hudara, with the help of my colleagues I work on our newsletter and social media management, alongside planning cultural events for Hudara that are interconnected with the themes we works with. Moreover, in my work, as a research assistant, I focus primarily on the equal and gender based participation in our projects with the communities that we work with.

Nikolas Schöne

Programme Coordinator
It is my belief that an intrinsic development of the local energy supply structure is necessary to provide sustainable, lasting access to energy and herewith improve the wellbeing and quality of life of people in all areas of human development. Accordingly, when designing energy supply systems for the purpose of providing energy in rural and disadvantaged regions, I pursue not only technically and economically optimal solutions, but above all those that are co-developed and expanded by the people of concern and set the ball rolling for interregional community development. Next to my work at Hudara, I am a research associate at the Technical University of Berlin, in both commitments I focus on engineering technical solutions for energy supply systems for rural regions (microgrids) and the associated economic, political and social issues.

Maria Zhiguleva

Research Assistant
I believe that there is nothing more human and more important than people supporting each other and learning from each other. I am an intersectional feminist, I have experience in intercultural communication and psychology, and my dream is to be a part of a support system for women on their paths to healing. I am interested in promoting destigmatizing and decolonizing mental health, as well as raising awareness of traditional paradigms of healing. I am currently enrolled in a master’s program in Psychology at the University of Potsdam, and planning after graduation to continue my education in the direction of psychodynamic feminist therapy and holistic healing methods. At Hudara I am working on a project promoting anti-patriarchal, community-based and inclusive approaches to mental health for women in Sudan as well as on the conceptualization of peer-to-peer-support groups among migrants and refugees in Germany.

Mohammad Shaklab

Project Manager
Projects on access to energy and social development would not be properly tailored to address a local need, if not co-designed by persons of concern. I believe in bottom-up projects, where the people, their needs and problems are at the center. Sustainability does not revolve only around renewable energy, but also about how projects are build, sustainable for the communities and sensitive to local cultures. Currently I am working at Hudara as a project manager, engaged in the field to counteract energy poverty and promote clean and renewable access to energy in rural communities where there is a scarcity of energy. We try our best to do this in a sustainable and community-centered way.

Katharina Bach

Research Consultant
My interest is on interpersonal interactions, social cohabitation, and the empowerment of marginalized groups. I believe that science should be the basis for action, which in turn should lead to positive changes. For Hudara I am analyzing participative activities, tools and guiding principles used in community-based approaches in humanitarian and development settings. Herein I am focusing particularly on the field of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support and aim to evaluate implementation practices of MHPSS interventions in Iraq. I am currently studying for a Master's degree in Psychology at the University of Munich and have quantitative and qualitative research experience in psychology, education and political science with a focus on migration and refugee studies. Further, I gained various practical experiences, for example, in a refugee camp in Greece and in educational work with underage Mexican immigrants in California.

Clarize Marais

Digital Marketing Lead
I am a hybrid between an analytical and creative mind. My favorite work time is spent thinking of visually stunning and imaginative ways to capture people’s attention and convince them of an idea. To create the best ideas possible, I also enjoy diving deeper into people’s underlying needs, motivations and desires in an attempt to understand them better, what & how they get inspired. Another important factor in my work is testing and measurement. Testing different hypothesis, measuring what has been successful, identifying why (or why not), and then scaling the best preforming ideas. In this way, marketing is where psychology, imagination and analytics meet in perfect harmony. As a digital marketing manager and aspiring eco warrior, I aim to use all three principles in my work to help make the world a better place for as many people as possible. It is my mission to spread the word about activities and topics at Hudara, to inspire others to contribute to our projects.

Leonard Bruckmann

As an environmental psychologist I want to further specialize on coping with psychological effects of climate change like the feeling of uncertainty about one’s future. I believe that it is vital to give room for negative emotions like anger or fear in a world that rapidly heats up, without forgetting the progressive potential for behavioral change that comes with increased awareness of climate change consequences. Since most of the GHG-emissions are produced in the global north, it is up to us to reduce our consumption behavior and raise pressure on political decision makers in order to stay in emission budgets and keep our planet habitable. At Hudara I want to help develop an education program on global identity and perception of climate change, comparing different narratives. I want to influence young people in the way they critically think about fairness in global capitalism, the exploitation of our environment and factors leading to a fulfilled life.

Catri Foot

Visual Content Creator
For as long as I can remember, the arts has been one of my passions. I’ve always had a big imagination and I like to think through it I can make an impact. Expressing myself creatively provides further means to achieve this goal. I believe equality regardless of gender, being, class or race is possible in the long term. Once we begin to treat others and our surroundings better, we can guarantee a future that not only works for our wellbeing, but also for the wider benefit of all. In the past I’ve used photography to pursue these ideals, for instance with my poetry and photography blog. Other interests include: collaging, filmmaking and creative writing. For Hudara, I capture moments and develop visual content in response to the needs of the organisation, highlighting each theme with an artistic aesthetic.

Tidian Marvin Baerens

Project Manager

Mariami Marsagishvili

Research Assistant

Tim Ronan Britton

Research Associate

The Advisory Board

Hudara is guided by an international advisory board which adds to the diversity of perspectives and enriches our knowledge and skills.

Dr. Salam Said

Scientific Adviser for Socially Just Development

Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation, Tunis, Tunisia

Gulistan Chalabi

National Coordinator for Psychosocial Support

International Organization for Migration, Duhok, Iraq

Kristoffer Tangri

Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding Specialist

United Nations Development Programme, Nairobi, Kenya

Dr. Christoph Nedopil

Director Green Belt and Road Initiative

International Institute of Green Finance, Beijing, China


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