who we are

I learned very early in my intellectual journey that the best thinking and strategizing emerges through collaborations with diverse communities of people with similar commitments and vision of justice. I have worked to build these radical intellectual neighborhoods in the service of social justice.

Dr. Chandra Talpade Mohanty

STAFF

LOUBNA MESSAOUDI

Loubna Messaoudi is the CEO Founder of BIWOC* Rising. She is a former airline pilot, holds a degree in media science and philosophy and also further training in sound and video design. Her career fields cover Cultural Institutions, Film Festivals, Film/TV Productions and NGOs in Germany and New Zealand.
Her work in the past few years has focused on the crossroads of discriminatory structures of women* of colour and the connected economic and social participation in Germany. In addition, she offers mediation and diversity / inclusion training for companies and educational institutions with an intersectional approach. In 2020 she joined BMW Foundation’s Responsible Leadership Program.

CÉRISE CARSON

Cérise Carson (she/her/they/them) is the HR manager, mentoring program and feel-good manager of BIWOC* Rising, and an advocate for diversity and deep connections. Combining her unique lived experience with specialised training, she relates to a broad range of people from varying backgrounds, ages, experience and education levels. Her own personal and professional story reflect the diversity she recognises and seeks to foster in others with her support group RESET MOM and her storytelling platform WITHIN ELEMENT, highlighting role models for the next generation, allowing an unconscious empowerment to unfold. As a certified nutritionist and life coach she focuses on the balance of mind, body and soul. By incorporating life experiences with tools and methods, Cérise joins expertise and a high level of empathy to foster spaces that feel safe as a facilitator and also as an event manager, PR and HR for BIWOC*Rising.  

DR. LANA SIRRI

Lana Sirri is the project manager of BIWOC* Rising. After completing her PhD studies at Humboldt University of Berlin in 2016, she was appointed Assistant Professor for Gender and Religion at Maastricht University, The Netherlands. Her research interests lie at the intersection of religion, race, gender, and sexuality, with a specific focus on the critical exploration of Islamic feminism. Lana is intimately aware of the multiplicity of issues surrounding the topic of gender, race and diversity. This awareness is not only a result of her academic work but also stems from a deep commitment to this topic as a result of personal experience in her daily life. Her engagement with this topic drove her to co-found the Berlin Muslim Feminist Group, and to initiate the Black & PoC Academic Network in Berlin. She is appointed an associated expert at the Centre for Intersectional Justice (CIJ) in Berlin.

LIN DIAZ MACEO

Lin (any pronouns) is BIWOC* Rising’s PR & Social Media head. The genderfluid Cuban-German advocate for mental health, safer spaces, social inclusion, racial and disability justice, and human rights, finished their M.A. in Interdisciplinary Latin American Studies at the Free University in Berlin in 2021, with a focus on anti-racism, crisis leadership, and political equity. For their B.A., Lin studied Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, with a research focus on indigenous and human rights and cultural identity. Off the academic grid, Lin loves to create community through a sense of belonging and connection via life experiences made in various jobs, types of volunteering, and through living with multiple identities in a myriad of communities. Their favorite way of processing and expressing the emotions and impressions these connections bring with them is writing – whether it’s political and heartfelt poems (latest work: being part of Transcodiert Issue #1), journalistic pieces, or short stories.

All staff photo credits go to: Nella Aguessy (IG: @bigmotha)

JULY CASSIANI HERNANDEZ

July Cassiani Hernandez (she/her) is BIWOC* Rising’s team assistant. She has 13 years of experience in the NGO sector and a huge passion for the defense of human rights, peace building, and shaping the world. Her role as a regional leader for Search for Common Ground and ACDI VOCA (in cooperation with USAID) in youth leadership and as a member of the Global Shapers network of the World Economic Forum (WEF) were two of her latest endeavors. In 2021, she joined the South-South Cooperation Council of Colombia in the area of international projects and assistant chair, mainly for the Latham, Caribbean, Europe, and South Asia offices. Recently, she supports social construction initiatives for migrant populations in the European context.

ADVISORY COUNCIL

DR. EMILIA ZENZILE ROIG

Emilia Roig is the Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Intersectional Justice (CIJ). She is faculty member of the Social Justice Study Abroad Program of DePaul University of Chicago and has taught graduate and post-graduate courses on Intersectionality Theory, Postcolonial Studies, Critical Race Theory and International and European Law. From 2007 to 2010, she worked extensively on Human Rights issues at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Tanzania and Uganda, at the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) in Cambodia, and at Amnesty International in Germany.

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MIHAELA DRĂGAN

Mihaela Drăgan is an actress and playwright who lives and works in Bucharest. Her performances focus on the connection between theatre, Roma identity and social justice. In 2014, she co-founded Giuvlipen Theatre Company. Giuvlipen’s performances have a feminist agenda and bring to life the issues of early marriage, antigypsyism, hate speech, hyper-sexualization, eviction, and heteronormativity in order to promote discussion and critical thinking. She is also part of the “Roma Armee” ensemble at Maxim Gorki Theatre in Berlin.

SABOURA NAQSHBAND

Saboura Naqshband is currently working at the DeZIM Institute Berlin as a Research Associate. Her research interests are, amongst other things, the intersections of religion, gender and sexuality; Anti-discrimination, anti-Muslim racism, Islamophobia and socio-political and economic participation of Migrants and Refugees in Germany.
She studied Arabic and Political Science at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London, with a year abroad at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. As well as Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Free University of Berlin. In addition, Saboura Naqshband is an empowerment trainer, translator and consultant.

Former Team Members

THỊ MINH HUYỀN NGUYỄN

Huyen is a Vietnamese writer, womxn’s rights activist and marathoner. As a professional in the sports industry in New York, she helped build District Vision and her clients include: Maurten and Outdoor Voices. She started Gold to Green, an online publication at the intersections of running and the arts in 2011. Huyen has co-founded WocForward in Brooklyn (a monthly fitness club for and by womxn of color) and Wayv Run Kollektiv in Berlin to elevate BIPOC/LGBTQI* runners. When Huyen is not running or writing, she’s pursuing a master’s degree in media science and empowering BIPOC communities, e.g. with the platform ichbinkeinvirus.org and BIWOC* Rising.

Daniela
DANIELA ORLANDO

Daniela is a psychology student, activist and avid learner. She is combining her experiences as a fundraiser for Greenpeace with her background in communication science to help acquiring financial aid for marginalised groups. She is a mediator, decision maker and networker with a mission to not only empower,
but to build structures between various communities.
Leading by example, Daniela is focusing on mutal support and international solidarity work. Which also means educating and dismantling discriminatory mechanisms along her way.
Daniela joined the Sponsoring/Marketing department in June and is the go-to person when needing a contact or network, not only for the BIWOC* Rising Team.

ANIS ARI

Anis Ari is currently studying at the Freie Universität Berlin, with a major in English Philology and a minor in Political Science. She mainly focuses on or is interested in the fields of journalistic and creative writing. From 2017- 2018 she was part of a volunteer program of the AWO (Arbeiterwohlfart). She was stationed at a refugee camp in Berlin and primarily worked with children or acted as a translator. She joined BIWOC* Rising for a three month internship in January/20.