Steps for Peace

Institute for Peacebuilding Non-Profit Organisation




Cornelia Brinkmann, Director

Cornelia Brinkmann is director of Steps for Peace. She is a board member of the Berghof Foundation following her work over several years at the Institute for Peace Education in Tübingen. Since 2002, she has worked as a peace policy consultant and has gained extensive experience in Afghanistan as peace worker, trainer and evaluator. Prior to that, she was a project consultant responsible for establishing the project zivik / Institute for Foreign Relations. From 1992 to 2000, she led projects and events in the areas of democracy, development, human rights, mediation and conflict transformation as a consultant at the Heinrich Böll Foundation. During that period, she was involved in the founding of the Forum Civil Peace Service and served on the board in the early years. She graduated in educational science from the University of Göttingen, and is a qualified organisation developer and business administrator. She publishes regularly on peace-policy topics in English and German.


Friederike Groll, Intern

Friederike Groll is currently an intern and mainly supports Steps for Peace in developing and implementing educational offers for refugees. Before, she gained experience in non-governmental organisations in Germany and abroad (especially in Mexico and South Africa). Furthermore, she has been active in the political education of young adults for years. She studied Peace and Conflict Studies (MA) at Goethe University Frankfurt and holds a BA in Political Science and Cultural Studies from Bremen University.

 Andreas Fellguth, Accountant

Andreas Fellguth is responsible for preparatory accounting. Since 2003, he has worked as a freelancer in and for different companies in the field of accounting and payroll services. Prior to that, he was employed at a bank for 8 years. He is a qualified bank and industrial clerk.


Citha Maaß, Senior Consultant

Dr. Citha D. Maaß has advised Steps for Peace on the institute’s conceptual development since October 2011. She spent 20 years as a research associate in the Asia Research Division (Afghanistan and South Asia) at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) and worked and conducted research in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka for many years. She completed her studies in political science, political economics and European history at the universities of Göttingen, Munich, and New Delhi with an MA in 1973 and a doctorate in 1980.


Markus Müller, Honorary Consultant

Markus Müller supports Steps for Peace in the field of online communication. Since two years he is working as a marketing manager for a scientific specialist printer. Before that he used to work for a big professional association and for a communication agency. Markus Müller has studied History, Philosophy and History of Art in Kiel and gained a certificate in business administration at the IWW of the FernUniversität in Hagen. (21.10.2019)

People who have worked for Steps for Peace


Ali Altiok, Intern

Ali Altiok focused on the topic of working with young refugees. »During my internship with Steps for Peace I improved my understanding of the main concepts of peace research, such as peace, conflict and violence. I also gained practical experiences on how to organise a venue for trainings and how to support writing a project proposal.« In the past, Ali Altiok gained experiences in dialogue, mediation and peace-support structures during his internship at the Berghof Foundation. He holds a post-graduate master’s degree in Peace and Security Studies at the University of Hamburg and a master’s degree in Political, Legal, and Economic Philosophy at the University of Bern. He studied his bachelor degree in Philosophy at the METU / Ankara (28.4.2016).

Johannes Blankenbach, Intern

Johannes Blankenbach developed templates for training courses and provided scientific, organisational and technical support during the institute’s set-up phase. »I could not let the opportunity pass of being actively involved in the development of a new organization with innovative and ambitious goals in the peacebuilding field. Steps for Peace was my entry into the areas of didactics and peace education, and I benefit greatly from this experience in my current job.« Johannes Blankenbach is currently working as a research assistant in the education department of the German Development Institute (DIE). He studied at the London School of Economics (MSc Human Rights), the Université de Tunis El Manar and the TU Dresden (BA International Relations). (01.10.2012)

Katharina Brassington, Intern

Katharina Brassington supported in the implementation of trainings and organised the Steps for Peace 5th anniversary celebration. »After deepening my theoretical knowledge on peace and conflict research during my studies, Steps for Peace gave me the opportunity to experience this knowledge in the field. I believe in the vision of the ‘positive peace’-approach, which is supposed to be achieved by merging bottom-up and top-down methods as well as dealing with root causes of conflicts. Therefore, working with Steps for Peace and dealing with these subjects in the field was an important contribution to both, my professional and my personal development.« (17.1.2016)


Sarah Grieß, Project Assistant

Sarah Grieß worked for the training management of Steps for Peace. »Peace work is founded on visions – and this becomes tangible through a cooperation with Steps for Peace. Alongside the professional input, I have especially appreciated the culture of open discussion.« Before working with Steps for Peace Sarah coordinated civil peace service projects by the KURVE Wustrow in Myanmar and Nepal and supported a fond for local initiatives as Junior-Consultant of GIZ in Vietnam. She studied social science at the University of Hannover and completed a Master of Advanced Studies in development and cooperation at the ETH Zurich. (23.2.2016)

Rebecca web

Rebecca Hackstein, Intern

Rebecca Hackstein worked in the organization of trainings and events at Steps for Peace. »Working for peace needs courage and determination to achieve aspired goals. However, it equally depends on diligence and appreciation in everyday processes and encounters. These aspects, which are characteristic for the work of Steps for Peace are truly inspiring for me.« Rebecca Hackstein completed her MA of Intercultural Conflict Management at Alice Salomon University of Applied Science in Berlin. Before, she worked as a social worker in youth welfare. Currently, she is in the preparation phase for an assignment in Liberia for Bread for the World. (29.10.2013)

 Catalin Hartwig, Intern

Catalin Hartwig was responsible for the event management of the Berlin discussion series »Kaleidoscope peacework. Civil society engagement in crisis regions.« »What I value about my work at Steps for Peace is that I can bring in my own ideas. I have also deepened my knowledge of civic engagement in peace building and conflict resolution.« Catalin Hartwig is currently working for the African Refugee Development Centre in Tel Aviv, Israel. During her time at Steps for Peace, she completed an LL.M. in Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at the European University Viadrina. She holds a B.A. in European Studies from Maastricht University and an M.A. in International Relations from the Central European University, Budapest, Hungary. (11.10.2012)


Alesia Malchow, Project Assistant

At Steps for Peace Alesia Malchow mainly worked on training management and social media. »Civil conflict management is mainly concerned with steering transformation processes after conflict and to be able to appropriately use instruments of peacekeeping. I think it’s great that there is now an organization in Berlin that specifically prepares experts for their assignments in conflict- and crisis regions«. She gained professional experience with the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) in Kiew and at the German embassy in Moscow. She studied Social Sciences with a focus on International Relations at the Leibniz-University Hannover and at Ajou-University in South Korea. (29.10.2013)

Inga Neu, Intern

Inga Neu was responsible for training management at Steps for Peace. »After gaining experience of development cooperation primarily on-site, I was especially interested in further sensitising professionals for their work in conflict contexts through Steps for Peace. The fact that Steps for Peace was still in the set-up phase enabled me to be directly involved in development processes within a small NGO.« Inga Neu graduated in sociology and education. In her thesis, she investigated the role of traumatic processes in peace development in Casamance, Senegal. (02.10.2012)


Alessa Rhode, Intern

Alessa Rhode was involved in the preparation process of trainings and the organisation of an exhibition stand. »It was academically very enriching to see my study contents being put into praxis and to gain a lot of new thought provoking impulses and insights. Steps for Peace tries to ensure that there is not only good will behind peace work and development cooperation, but that the results and the impact also constitute a qualitative enrichment for all parties involved. I enjoyed following and supporting this process.« Alessa Rhode studies International Political Management (BA) at the University of Applied Sciences in Bremen. Furthermore she studied Peace and Development Studies at the Linneaus University in Växjö and Social Sciences at the Humboldt University in Berlin, and completed an advanced training as mediator. (19.03.2014)

Maren Sass, Intern

Maren Sass contributed conceptual work on the topics of conflict transformation and civil society. In addition, she provided office support and helped with the organization of the move of Steps for Peace to new office space. »Conflict transformation is a long and complex process that requires a lot of courage, creativity and perseverance from all parties involved. Experiencing this type of unshaking commitment every day at Steps for Peace was inspiring.« Maren holds an M.A. in Political Science from the LMU in Munich. She is currently working as an intern at the Berghof Foundation. (06.05.2014)


Julia Schönborn, Intern

Julia Schönborn supported in the development of a training manual for trainers and assisted the team in training and event preparations as well as in social media. “Steps for Peace treats peace and democracy as a precious commodity, that must not be taken for granted. The motivation of Steps for Peace to take along this philosophy to refugees in Berlin to enable a successful integration inspired me during my internship”. Julia Schönborn will start a Masterprogramme at the University of Augsburg in Social science: Conflicts in Politics and Society.  Before, she studied Cultural Sociology in Law, Power and Social Justice at the University of Southern Denmark and has a B.A in Anthropology from the Goethe University of Frankfurt am Main.


Thilo Schöne, Intern

Thilo Schöne coordinated the process of the redesign of the Steps for Peacewebsite. »The concern of Steps for Peace to strengthen local actors in crisis regions inspired my involvement with this young organization. As Steps for Peacewas still in the set-up phase, my ideas had a large and fast impact. The fact that I was also able to gain insight into the management of an NGO was a very educational side effect.« Thilo Schöne graduated from the Technical University of Dresden and the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, with a Bachelor’s degree in political science and is currently studying peace and conflict studies at the University of Kent and the Philipps University, Marburg. (30.09.2012)

Sonja Schrago

Sonja Schrago, Intern

Sonja Schrago was working on the concept of a new training for Steps for Peaceand organised the inauguration event for the new office space. »To accompany the work of an aspiring non-profit organization organizationally as well as conceptually was an important professional experience for me as equivalent to the theories learned in years of university studies. The goal of Steps for Peace to strengthen civilian actors for crisis prevention and during conflict transformation processes, for me is one of the fundamental elements how people in the future can contribute to sustainable peace in a self-determined way.« Sonja received a BA in history and social sciences from the University of Basel and Durham (GB) and is currently studying in the Master’s programme Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Magdeburg. (07.07.2014)


Leonie Sichtermann, Trainee

While working with Steps for Peace Leonie Sichtermann supported the training management and assisted in diverse projects. »I have learned a lot about the contents and structures of an organisation that fosters social and political transformation processes. An inevitable approach! That is why I consider the work of Steps for Peace particularly important. I am thankful for the various experiences that I gathered, both on a conceptual and on an organisational level.« In the past Leonie Sichtermann gained experiences in development cooperation, e.g. while being an intern for the development and relief agency Bread for the World. She holds a MA in Peace and Conflict Research from the university in Frankfurt am Main and studied politics and sociology (BA) in Eichstätt and Brussels. (19.10.2016)

 Katharina Photo_Web

Katharina Waczek, Project Assistant

Katharina Waczek worked with Steps for Peace from 2013 to 2015. She was responsible for project assistance, training management and the series of events on Kaleidoskop Friedensarbeit. »I had a precious time working with Steps for Peace. I was able to apply the knowledge acquired during my studies and had the possibility to contribute with my own ideas to the establishment of an organisation, thus experiencing peace work in the field. I make use of the knowledge and abilities I acquired working in the field of trainings every day. Especially precious was meeting people from all over the world. Steps for Peace is raising awareness of how to deal with conflicts – a mission more urgent than ever before.« Since July 2015 Katharina is working in the Peacekeeping Training Programme of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in Geneva. (17.1.2016)

Jan-Hinrich Wagner, Intern

Jan-Hinrich Wagner shared the responsibility for the exploration of an online project and took over administrative duties in training and event management. »It’s important to me to gain as broad an impression as possible of the field of peace and conflict work. As Steps for Peace is still in the set-up phase, I have found this here.« At the same time as working for Steps for Peace, Jan-Hinrich Wagner also worked at the Social Science Research Centre Berlin. Prior to this, he worked with organizations and institutions in Istanbul and Athens. He studied international conflict analysis at the University of Kent, having completed his BA degree in government and communication studies at the Universities of Erfurt and the Bosphorus / Istanbul. (16.10.2012)