Инна Велева

Hi there!

My name is Inna and not long ago I was in your shoes.

I completed my Master’s degree in Political Science and Islamic studies at the University of Heidelberg in 2012. As part of my studies and during longer periods spent in the region (Libya, Yemen, Egypt, and Palestine) I specialized in international security and conflict resolution focusing on political transformation in the Middle East.

Following an internship in the Jerusalem office of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, I headed the regional group on ‘Conflicts in the Middle East and Maghreb’ at the Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research. After completing a six-month traineeship with the Herbert Quandt Foundation in public relations and intercultural project work,I was offered a position as Project Manager in the Global Dialogue and Responsible Leadership department of the BMW Foundation in Berlin. Looks like a long a journey, but what matters most to me is where it all started…                                                                                                                                                                           In a dusty classroom with a bunch of frustrated sixth-graders. Most of us scared, disorganized and pretty much insecure. Sounds familiar?

Professor Ivanov had the inhuman task of introducing to us notions like responsible leadership, engagement and self-initiative – all quite alien concepts to most of us. I can still remember his speech about this world awaiting us outside the classroom – a world filled with endless opportunities, opportunities of which he believed we are all worthy of. And this unconditional trust is what made the difference. He succeeded in eliminating all sorts of motivational barriers, challenging us constantly and eventually bringing out the best in us. He did not simply teach us how to compete.

This school thought us how to contribute, be a team-player, give feedback. The teachers there thought us that freeing our minds from winner-takes-it-all stereotypes is important to identifying the best ideas, no matter their origin. This is where I first learned how to approach conversations with others less like a zero sum game. The though-provoking insights I have gained during my time at Evrostar-Ivanovi are still a source of inspiration in my work and have shaped my vision of a multi-polar world order based on shared responsibility.