© Rodrigo Dada

Laura Aguirre is director of the feminist digital media, Alharaca, and fundraising coordinator of Sembramedia. She has a PhD in sociology from the Free University of Berlin (Suma Cum Laude). In February 2018, she co-founded Alharaca, focusing on the application of the feminist perspective to journalism. In recent years, she has turned her interest to the topic of sustainability and viability of independent media. In 2017, she won the COLPIN Latin American award for investigative journalism. That same year she won the IDEA award for journalistic innovation, with the transmedia project Sexo SinVergüenzas. She is a member of the Chicas Poderosas network, former fellow and mentor of the program for women media founders, Metis.

© private

Margarita Akhvlediani is Programmes Director at Go Group Media and Editor-in-chief of JAMnews, an independent media outlet widely known as an alternative source of reliable news and analysis produced by editors and journalists based in different parts of the Caucasus region, including in three conflict zones. Previously, Margarita served as the Caucasus Programme Director at the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR). For years, she has taught conflict reporting, news reporting and media management to local and international students.

© private

Luis Assardo is a freelance digital security trainer, Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) researcher and data-investigative journalist. Luis founded Confirmado, a Guatemalan project to fight disinformation and is an award winner for his investigations and research about troll factories, disinformation, radicalization, hate speech and influence operations (IO). Based in Berlin he works with Reporters Without Borders (RSF),  the Holistic Protection Collective (HPC), and other human rights organizations.

© Nadia Buzhan

Natalia Belikova is the Head of International Cooperation of the Press Club Belarus, an umbrella organization for Belarusian independent media outlets, which works to preserve Belarusian journalism and foster media development in Belarus. Natalia, a trained international lawyer, has over 15 years of progressive professional experience in media development, including within UN and OSCE systems. Her professional interests include strategic communications, counteracting disinformation, medialiteracy, strategic media development and analysis.

© Jule Halsinger

Janik Besendorf is an IT security expert who has worked in the Digital Security Lab of Reporters Without Border since 2021. There he focuses on forensic investigations on digital attacks on journalists. He is especially experienced with mercenary malware on Android and iOS. He also trains journalists on IT security.


© Saofullah Khoso

Gulmina Bilal Ahmad is a trained psychologist with eighteen years of experience in the development sector. Her work focuses on mental health, communication and capacity building. She is a recognized facilitator as well as a resource person on public policy and communication studies. Gulmina is the Executive Director of Individualland, a Pakistan-based consulting group with a strong advocacy wing and presently, involved in a number of community engagement and outreach programs in Pakistan.

© Carles Cardelus

Elisabet Cantenys is the Executive Director at the ACOS Alliance, an unprecedented global coalition of news organizations, freelance journalist associations and press freedom NGOs working together to create a culture of safety across newsrooms and among freelance and local journalists worldwide. As former Head of Programmes at the Rory Peck Trust, she oversaw and implemented more than a dozen safety projects worldwide. Elisabet has worked as a freelance documentary producer, radio journalist and writer in New York, London and Barcelona. 

© Javaid Montazari

Prof. Shirin Ebadi is an author, lawyer, and was the first female judge in Iran, living in exile in London since 2009. In 2003, she received the Nobel Peace Prize. Shirin was a judge in Iran until 1979, the year of the Islamic Revolution, after which she was not allowed to work as a judge. In 1994, she co-founded the Society for Protecting the Rights of the Child in 1994. In 2002, she co-founded the Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC). After being awarded the Nobel Prize, she co-founded the Nobel Women’s Initiative in 2006.

© private

Dipl.-Psych. Friederike Engst is a psychological psychotherapist and a behavioral and communication trainer. She works in a psychosomatic clinic for people with trauma and trauma-related disorders and specialized in trauma and intercultural psychotherapy as well as in trauma and mental health in journalism, since 2018 also working with the Dart Centre Europe. In addition, she supports journalists with short-term crisis intervention and counseling in stressful and after potentially traumatizing situations as well as in case of overload and exhaustion.

© Jule Halsinger

Katja Heinemann has been heading the emergency assistance and fellowship programs at Reporters Without Borders Germany (RSF) since 2021. Before joining RSF, Katja’s work as a NYC- and Berlin-based multimedia journalist and director of community-based media projects focused on social issues such as migration and public health, aging and youth, with the aim of working with impacted communities against discrimination and social exclusion. She draws on these experiences to further develop RSF’s scholarship programs as well as individual emergency assistance, evacuations and humanitarian resettlement of media professionals at risk.

© private

Oleg Khomenok is a media trainer and consultant, Senior Media Advisor at Internews Network, member of the Board of Directors of the Global Investigative Journalists Network (GIJN), expert at the International Fact-Checking Network and member of the Commission on Journalistic Ethics. Oleg has over 27 years of experience in journalism, media education, PR and GR, management of investigative journalism and media support projects. He is the author of manuals on investigative journalism, media management, election coverage, economic journalism, and press history.

© private

Marianne Koch is a Holistic and Digital Security Trainer and Coach, part of the Holistic Protection Collective. She accompanies human rights defenders and journalists globally as well as organizations working with them. Having a background as a mediator, she also trains how to facilitate dealing with conflicts in small organizations and diverse teams.



Elisa Lees Muñoz is the Executive Director of the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF). She is a relentless advocate for women journalists, striving to prioritize their voices in all press freedom conversations. Elisa’s core belief that progress stands still when gender diverse perspectives are excluded drives the IWMF to respond with immediacy to the issues women and nonbinary journalists face in today’s world, meeting the moment with urgency, reinforcing the IWMF’s commitment to uplifting journalists at all intersections of their identities.

© DW

Johannes Metzler leads DW Akademie’s Mexico, Central America, and Caribbean unit. He attended school in both Germany and Brazil, and then studied Latin American literature. With 15 years’ journalism experience, he was a reporter and editor for major German media. He also served as a correspondent for public broadcaster ARD in Mexico City. Currently, he is responsible for developing journalist safety initiatives across DW Akademie.

© epd-bild/Laurenz Bostedt

Christian Mihr is a journalist, human rights activist and expert on international media policy. He has been executive director of Reporters Without Borders since 2012. He is particularly interested in Internet surveillance and censorship circumvention, Internet governance, media pluralism in the digital world and intelligence control in the digital age. His regional focuses are Latin America, Eastern Europe and Turkey. Furthermore, Christian has been an expert in several committees of the German Bundestag and a lecturer on journalism and media at various universities.

© DW/P. Böll

Carsten von Nahmen has been DW Akademie’s Managing Director since 2018. He studied Journalism and History in Dortmund, and joined Deutsche Welle in 1992 as a trainee. Afterwards, he worked as a freelance reporter and political correspondent for DW and other media. In 2004, he joined DW Akademie, where he was responsible for media development in various regions before returning to Deutsche Welle as Head of News and Deputy Editor-in-Chief in 2014, and as senior correspondent in Washington in 2017.

© Olga Berdikyan

Gavin Rees is the Dart Center’s Senior Advisor for Training and Innovation. For many years, Gavin was the director of Dart Centre Europe.  Gavin has run workshops and discussion groups on trauma awareness, resilience and interviewing skills for working journalists and documentary filmmakers in more than 25 countries, and has advised leading international news organizations on managing impact from vicarious trauma exposure.

© Lawrence Aritao

Ana P. Santos is a journalist reporting on the intersections of female migrant labor, sexuality & sexual health rights, and gender justice. Her writing about culturally taboo topics such as sexual and reproductive health challenge damaging societal expectations about women’s roles and help bridge the gap between vulnerable women in and legislators who draft policies that affect their right to work, their right to decide about their body, and their right to own their future. Her work has been published in Rappler, The Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times, Al Jazeera and DW Germany. Ana has a postgraduate degree in Gender (Sexuality) from the London School of Economics and Political Science as a Chevening Scholar. She is currently based in Berlin, Germany.

© Heinrich Böll Foundation Tbilisi Office

Dr. Sonja Schiffers is the Director of the Heinrich Böll Foundation Tbilisi Office – South Caucasus Region. She is a member of the Advisory Board to the German Government for Civilian Crisis Prevention and Peacebuilding. Previously, she worked at the German Bundestag, was a visiting fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, and served as president and head of program Gender and International Politics at Polis180. She completed her Ph.D. on Russian and Turkish illiberal influence in Bosnia and Georgia at Freie Universität Berlin.

© private

Mayss Shehawi is a dedicated journalist with Syrian roots and has lived in Germany for eight years. Despite the challenges of living in exile, Mayss has achieved impressive success. Not only has she learned the German language, but she has also successfully completed her traineeship at Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) and acquired German citizenship. Mayss works for various editorial offices including NDR, funk, Goethe Institut and Deutschlandfunk Kultur. She is particularly characterized by her ability to involve people, to question stereotypes and to highlight protagonists as experts in their own right.

© private

Aymen Zaghdoudi is Access Now’s MENA Senior Policy Counsel based in Tunisia. Prior to joining Access Now, he was a legal adviser at the MENA office of ARTICLE 19 for 5 years where he researched ethics of journalists, the impact of digital development on freedom of expression in the MENA region, and media freedom. Aymen is also a Professor assistant at the Institute of Press and Information Sciences in Tunisia where he teaches Press law and Constitutional law. He graduated from the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences in Sousse (Tunisia) and earned a doctorate degree in public law in 2016.