The Team

Lisa Bucksch

Tel.: +43 1 713 35 94 - 60 

works at the VIDC in the administration as well as in the VIDC Global Dialogue department as a project assistant. Among other things, she is responsible for the social media presence of the VIDC Global Dialogue department.

She has a bachelor's degree in Cultural and Social Anthropology and a master's degree in International Development with focus on inequality, economics and natural resources at the University of Vienna. Her Master's thesis was on forced resettlement in Chile.

Michael Fanizadeh

Tel.: +43 1 713 35 94 - 91

is Divisional Director of VIDC Global Dialogue and is responsible for Migration & Development and Anti-Discrimination with a regional focus on the Middle East.

From 1997 to 2008 he was the coordinator of the anti-racist sports project "fairplay" and the European network "Football Against Racism in Europe - FARE". From 2011 to 2014 he coordinated the transnational EU project CoMiDe - Initiative for Migration and Development. Since 2012 he has been the head of the Migration & Development working group in the Global Responsibility working group.
He earned a master's degree in political science at the University of Vienna.

Lena Gruber 

Tel. +43 1 713 35 94 - 83

is project officer and responsible for the area of gender (Gender Tandem Workshops; Human Trafficking; Women, Peace and Security Agenda) and the quarterly online magazine Spotlight.

Since 2018 she has been a lecturer at the University of Education (Communication and Personal Development; Diversity). From 2016 to 2017 she was a trainer and consultant in the Civil Peace Service in Liberia.
She has a master's degree in peace and conflict studies and her master's thesis was on women's empowerment in peace processes in Liberia and Rwanda.

Faai-Irène Estelle Hochauer-Kpoda

Tel: +43 1 713 35 94 - 69

is an event manager and responsible for the organisation of conferences, panel discussions and workshops.

She was a radio and TV presenter and editor at Radio Afrika TV.  Since 2009, she has been deputy chairwoman and co-founder of the association BARKA BARKA, an aid organisation for the town of Foroteon in Burkina Faso. Since 2018 she has been the special representative of the Burkinabè Diaspora in Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia and the Czech Republic. Since 2019 she has been an integration ambassador for Zusammen: Austria.
She earned a master's degree in tourism and hotel management at the Institut Supérieur International du Tourisme-Tanger in Morocco as well as a master’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management at the Institut for Tourism and Hotel Management in Salzburg. She also has a diploma in Project and Event Management from Vienna Media in Vienna.

Martina Neuwirth

Tel. +43 1 713 35 94 - 67

is project officer and responsible for international economic and financial policy. One of her main areas of work deals with illegitimate financial flows and international tax policy and its effects on countries of the Global South.

She is currently the Chairperson of the Mattersburg Circle for Development Policy and a member of the Think 20 (T20) Task Force "International Cooperation in Tax Matters". From 2013 to 2016 she was a member of the Coordination Committee of the Global Alliance for Tax Justice, from 2012 to 2018 a member of the Board of Trustees of the Commission for Development Research (KEF) and from 2011 to 2014 a member of the Executive Committee of the European Research Network EADI. Martina led two campaigns for debt relief for countries of the South and worked as a parliamentary assistant.
Martina studied African Studies at the University of Vienna and completed a Post-Graduate on Economic Principles at the University of London.

Franz Schmidjell

Deputy management
Tel.: +43 1 713 35 94 - 82

is deputy manager of the VIDC and project officer responsible for Africa policy at VIDC Global Dialogue.

Initiator of the VIDC department "kulturen in bewegung". Organises information and cultural festivals (Sura Za Africa, Onda Latina, Ke Nako Africa, moving cultures), exchange programmes, tours, exhibitions and workshops; supervises cultural projects in Africa.
Studied commercial sciences at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration with several trips and research stays in South East Asia and South Asia.

Nadja Schuster

Tel. +43 1 713 35 94 - 80

is project officer and responsible for gender issues, including the Gender Tandem Workshop Programme, the fight against human trafficking and the online magazine Spotlight.

She was a long-standing staff member of the NorthSouthDialogue of Parliaments and has researched and worked from 2009 to 2011 on the implementation of Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) at national level. She has also researched and published on Migration & Development and Diaspora Engagement in 2012 and on Sustainable Reconstruction in Sri Lanka in 2006.
She has a master's degree in Development Evaluation and Management from the University of Antwerp and a master’s degree in Sociology, International Development, Gender from the University of Vienna.

Magda Seewald (educational leave)

Tel. +43 1 713 35 94 - 75

is responsible for the Middle East, Gender and the Gender Tandem Workshop Programme.

She is a board member of the Women*solidarity and co-founder of the network REloading Feminism. From 2012 to 2018 she was a board member of WIDE Austria.
She studied political science with a combination of subjects in contemporary history, international law and international development at the University of Vienna. Diploma thesis on the women's peace movement in Israel and Palestine.


Ilker Ataç

Turkey, Migration

studied economics and political science in Vienna and London and received his doctorate in social sciences from the University of Frankfurt/Main. He is an assistant at the Department of Political Science at the University of Vienna and a member of the research group "Politics of Inclusion and Exclusion".

Marie Roger Biloa


is the editor of the political magazine "Africa International", published in Paris, and CEO of the Africa International Media Group. She has successfully founded two magazines in Cameroon and Gabon. Marie Roger-Biloa is President of the "Club Millenium" in Paris, an Africa think tank and networking centre for leaders, and lives in Paris.

Karin Fischer


studied history, political science and philosophy in Vienna. As a long-standing chairwoman of the Mattersburg Circle and editor-in-chief of the Journal for Development Policy, she contributed to the establishment of the International Development Studies programme at the University of Vienna. Today, she heads the Department of Global Sociology and Development Research at the Institute of Sociology at the Johannes Kepler University Linz. Karin Fischer researches and publishes on North-South relations, global commodity chains as well as on neoliberal transformation and counter-movements in Latin America.

Helmut Krieger

Israel, Palestine, Arabien region

is a social scientist, research associate and senior lecturer at the Institute for International Development of the University. His research focuses on development policy in war zones, Israel-Palestine antagonism, political Islam movements in the Arab world, critical state theory and postcolonial theory formation.

Ali Ahmad Safi


is a PhD student at the Department for Migration and Globalisation at the Danube University Krems (DUK). He received his Master's degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from the European Peace University (EPU). Ahmad has been working as a consultant for the VIDC since 2015 and has written research papers on Afghan refugees and diaspora communities in Europe. His most recent study for VIDC, "A Guide to Afghan Diaspora Engagement in Europe", was published in March 2020. As a trained doctor, he has also worked in various international research and media organisations and has published extensively on political, security and social issues in Afghanistan. His research areas include migration, diaspora, labour market and non-state security actors in Afghanistan.