Meet the team


AAEAAQAAAAAAAAibAAAAJGU0OGU3NTgyLWMzY2UtNGU1MS04NTJkLWY4ZDZjMTgzZmFmMAIngo Mayr-Knoch is the founder and CEO of After doing his Bachelor in Business Management and Economics at Zeppelin University in Germany he founded the Start-up, which was the first company in Germany to offer long distance intercity coach transportation breaking the monopoly of the Deutsche Bahn. The media hype that ensued after the Deutsche Bahn sued unsuccessfully gave Ingo the possibility to gather considerable experience in the conduct of an information strategy for a private company. After selling his shares of the company he studied International Security at Sciences Po PSIA specialising in Russia and the Post Soviet Space. Ingo speaks fluent Russian, French, Spanish, Italian, English and German. During his Master at Sciences Po he went on an exchange semester at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow.



Jean Christopher Mittelstaedt is co-founder of Jean Christophe graduated with a Bachelor of Laws in International Politics from Peking University, Beijing, China. After obtaining a Master in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action from Sciences Po Paris, he now pursues a DPhil in Politics at the University of Oxford, where he focuses on Chinese ideology, the legislative process, and party-building. He is also founder of OB|OR Austria Consulting, which specialises in political and risk analysis for companies that invest within China and along the Silk road in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. He is a contributing member of the European-Chinese Law Association and the Austrian-Chinese Business Association.


Sarra Ben Hamida

Sarra Ben Hamida is’s Central Research Manager. She is responsible for the overall coordination of on-going research projects and foresees their planning, management and implementation. She holds a master degree in International Security from Sciences Po, specialising in Global Risks and Middle Eastern studies. Sarra has a dual bachelor degree in Political Science and Literature with Sciences Po and Université Panthéon Sorbonne. She worked as a journalist for the contemporary and performative arts magazine Mouvement, worked as project coordinator for the Tunisian NGO TAMSS (Tunisian association for management and social stability) and as project management support intern with the Catholic Relief Services in Lebanon. Sarra speaks French, English, Arabic and Spanish.


Patimat Omarova is’s Central Management Officer. She is in charge of elaborating a sustainable and innovative development strategy and responsible for managing and coordinating the team’s work. She has extensive experience with think tank work in Russia, the post-Soviet Space and the European Union, as analyst, project coordinator and leader. She holds a Master’s degree in International Relations, European and Asian Studies from the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, and a Bachelor in International Relations from the Donetsk National University. Her areas of interest include the Eurasian Union, the Eastern Partnership, transatlantic investment relations and the European defence industry.



Simona Pronckutė is Marketing Officer at Simona is a fellow at TheGoodLobby and a team member at the ECI Campaign. She studied at the College of Europe, the University of Vienna, the University of Luxembourg and the University of Klaipeda. Additionally, she went on Erasmus exchanges to Italy and France. Simona is a proud holder of 12 scholarships of excellence. Before joining, Simona undertook a Traineeship with the European Commission and worked for European civil society organisations across Europe. She has been conducting research on youth empowerment and volunteering. Occasionally, Simona is invited to speak about the European Citizens’ Initiatives, youth empowerment and participatory democracy at international conferences.



Valentina Eigner is in charge of WeBuildEurope’s legal affairs. She has studied law at the University of Vienna and at Sciences Po Paris. After an internship at the Austrian Embassy in Moscow she is currently pursuing her doctoral studies specialising in European business law. She speaks German, English, French and Russian.





Maria Rodriguez Schaap is our Content Editor and Partnership Officer. She is responsible for the coherence and academic quality of our publications, as well as for the development of WBE research- and marketing-partnerships with universities and organisations. Maria is in the second year of her Master’s in International Security at Sciences Po Paris, specialising in Global Risk and the Middle East. She previously studied International Politics at the University of London and is especially interested in the EU and the Middle East. She has interned with AIESEC in New Delhi, Plan International in London, and the UN Women security department at United Nations Headquarters in New York. Maria speaks Dutch, English, Spanish, French and German, and is learning Arabic.



julius sigel

Julius Sigel is’s Ambassador and Network Manager for Germany, Hungary and Romania. His responsibilities include recruiting contributors – students and mentors – to build a strong network, as well as managing external relations and marketing in these countries. Julius currently studies Business Management at Fresenius Business School Munich, and is a young start-up entrepreneur. He has lived in Germany, England and Hungary. He previously studied at Pécs Medical University and TU Dresden, and completed a paramedic education in Berlin at the NAW centre for emergency medicine. Julius also worked as a trainee in the franchise development of RE/MAX Germany southwest.




Dina Arakji is our Intelligence Officer, responsible for the collection of information related to the research projects of From major events to literature reviews, she monitors open source information to ensure the relevant development of our projects. Dina is in her second year of the Master in International Security at Sciences Po Paris, focusing on Defense and Security Economics and the Middle East. She has interned at UNDP in Beirut, the Lebanese Parliament, and the World Union of Arab Bankers. She is currently a research intern at Carnegie Middle East covering the Arab Civil-Military relationship. 


Robert Lackner is a postdoctoral researcher at the Austrian Center for Intelligence, Propaganda and Security Studies (ACIPSS) of the University of Graz. Before joining ACIPSS, he worked for UNODC, the European Commission and an international consulting firm in Vienna and studied History, German and English as well as American Studies at the University of Graz and at Sciences Po Paris. Robert has carried out several projects in the fields of terrorism, resistance and exile studies, and cultural history. He has conducted research in Great Britain, Israel and the United States.




karim-ashour-photoKareem Ashour is leading WBE projects on Euro-Mediterranean partnership. He is currently investigating the Euro-Mediterranean cooperation towards a common response to the security challenge in the Southern Mediterranean. Kareem is Assistant Lecturer in Political Science and Public Policy at the Future University in Egypt (FUE) and the American University in Cairo (AUC). He holds a Master’s degree in Global Affairs from AUC and BA in Political Science with a minor in Public Administration from FUE and studied at Sciences Po as part of his graduate studies. He is particularly interested in research related to diplomacy, comparative politics, security studies, and international political economy with a focus on the Euro-Mediterranean region. In the aftermath of the 2011 Egyptian revolution, Ashour was involved in the ToT of the Democracy Schools at the Danish-Egyptian Dialogue Institute, and was election monitor in the Egyptian Parliamentary and Presidential elections in 2012. As part of his internships, he prepared reports directly to the Secretary-General of the Arab League in addition to doing research to Al-Ahram Center for Political & Strategic Studies. Kareem speaks Arabic, English, Italian, and French.